The timing seemed right. It was the summer of 2009. I had just finished Cohutta and Mohican. I was starting to feel like I was coming into my own as a racer. I felt like I belonged there, that I wasn't a wanna be or someone's ex-girlfriend, but a genuine mountain bike racer. With a new bike, a "real" race bike, there was so much potential to train and race. The Niner's first race was a cross country race in the fall of 2009 and other than a couple of training races the following spring it was also it's last race. The Niner promised to be my great endurance bike, but it's longest race was less than 30 miles.
First there was a little bit of burn out. And then some financial strain. And then a surgery. And a pregnancy. And now a baby.
The Niner never did get it's chance to be a true race bike. It didn't exactly sit idle. I rode as much as I could. But more for fun, and less for training. I love the Niner, not like the Surly though. I liked the lighter frame, the big wheels, the disc brakes, and tubeless tires. Had she been given a chance she probably could have been a great race bike. There was always the promise that she would be. As soon as the time was right, she'd become the race bike that I had intended her to be.
It's hard for me to adequately express how much I miss riding without feeling like I sound ungrateful for the reason that I'm not. But I would give just about anything to ride and race like I use to. I die a little inside when I hear people talk about their rides and races. On nice days when so many cyclist are out riding I want to run them off the road in my mini-van out of shear jealousy (just kidding I would never do that). I miss the Thursday night Cove ride, and even the Wednesday night road ride. I miss that every weekend would typically involve at least two rides, one on the road and one in the dirt.
I had planned to ride, train, and race again as soon as I was physically able. And while I have numerous people who have offered to watch Annelise I have a hard time leaving her. I keep saying next week I will, but then I don't. I find that time and energy are in very short supply now.
Money is also in short supply. As I attempt to dig myself out of the financial hole that maternity leave put me in I realized that I needed to thin out the arsenal, and the Niner would have to go. So on Sunday I left Annelise for only the third time other than to work, and took the Niner out for a good-bye tour of the Cove. It was sad for all the obvious reasons. I'm losing a bike (I tend to be attached to my bikes). I won't get much for it; it will hardly make a dent in our need and that will hardly make it seem worth it. But it will be something. And it will leave me without a decent mountain bike. I still have the Surly, but she's now rigid, and it will be difficult to go back to 26" wheels and rim brakes. So who knows when I'll go for another mountain bike ride.
But what I'm finding harder to let go of than the bike is the promise of races to come. I feel like I'm taking one more step backward from ever racing again. Even though I haven't been riding that much, and haven't done any real training I still had a bike and plan to race again. I've been offered a refund on my Iceman entry. Even without a bike there is a part of me that wants to hold onto it. As long as I'm entered in a race, I'm a racer, aren't I? But we need the money. So I'll part out the bike, sell my Iceman entry, take what I can get for them and hope that at some point down the line I'll be able to afford another bike and that I'll have the opportunity to redeem myself of my last Iceman.
I still have the Giant, the Surly and the Allant. I figure I'll just turn into a roadie for awhile.