My dad is the middle child in a family of three kids. His older brother, my Uncle Hank was once an avid cyclist. After conquering Seattle To Portland, my dad encouraged me to reach out to him and share my success. He, like my grandmother are never at a loss for words. He made me laugh as well as gave me some things to think about.
In his email he started off rambling that he was responding from his cell phone (baby boomer!) and was only one cup of coffee in for the day. He continued by telling me how proud he was of me and sharing a few ideas of other rides I might look into down the road. Then he made an insightful comment that made me smile. He said, "Do not let anyone take these achievements away from you, most of the people that criticize you are so f****** fat they couldn't get on a bicycle to get down to the donut store.” How could I not crack a smile?
He then made a comment that made me pause so I could truly absorb his words. He said, “One comment or advice that I would give you is to never wear a ride t-shirt/jersey that is over 1 year old..." My initial thought was, “Huh, that is strange, maybe they lose their effectiveness after a year." I read on, “You shouldn't care about what you did a year ago, it's all about the next challenge down the road. Until you get to be my age and then the challenge will be just to stay alive."
That phrase stuck with me. I kept thinking about it and thinking about it.. When I told my dad that I had heard back from my uncle he laughed and said, “What did he say!?" When I told him of my uncle's insightful quote he said, " That's actually great advice!" He said it with a funny brotherly look, like he was surprised something so insightful came out of his brothers mouth.
As days passed, I continued to think about this phrase and how it applies to so many more aspects of life outside of cycling. If we are always looking backwards, how can we see and enjoy the now and look forward for the future? I am constantly hearing people reminisce about the "good ol' days” and how it was "as good as it gets". Even facebook is trying to remind me of the past. I don't know about you, but I want to enjoy my NOW and my FUTURE!
So do as my Uncle Hank says, “Don't focus on what you did a year ago, it's all about the next challenge down the road." For me, in cycling that challenge is the Cycle Oregon Classic. What will that challenge be for you?