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  • I was on borrowed time, I knew it. Sometime soon the excitement would fade and I'd be done with racing. I'd retire. All I wanted was to go out on a high note, one last good season. I put in my time, paid my dues, did everything I could to make sure I came into that last season flying. I thought for sure that I had it.

    Then my heart gave. Arrhythmia. The control I thought I'd had, gone. Those long hours of training and sacrifice, useless. Forced out, I was bitter. I wouldn't get my parting shot. My body betrayed me, and I was upset, disappointed, and angry. So very angry.

    For the better part of two years I couldn't touch my racing bike. I couldn't look at her without seeing everything we were supposed to do together. I'd expected the excitement around racing to fade, and the passion, but I'd never considered that the love could dry up. Occasionally I rode my mountain bike; we'd never raced together, so she existed outside the scope of lost dreams. I rode my town bike with the same curved bars, the same silhouette, but I couldn't deal with my racing bike. She hung on her rack, her hollow tubes full of empty promises. Is that overly dramatic? Maybe, but that doesn't make it less true.

    I couldn't bring myself to ride her, nor could I bring myself to sell her, and thank goodness. Two years of distance from competition and my ego was enough for me to learn to ride for its own sake. We ride distances that wouldn't count as anything for a racer, and we never ride in the rain or cold anymore. When I ride with my friends, I warn them that I will be slow (and I am), but it is never hard the way it was when I first started. My bike still moves like a race bike, even though we don't race. She holds solid lines on swooping descents and lays down extra power when the road turns up. Riding together is fun again. It's magical. Every moment gives what it has, and that's enough. It took a while, and I don't think we'll ever race again, but the love is there again. The love came back.
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