Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Keep Swimming I Won't Move

The start of any trip begins with that first step. Eventually with persistance and determination you will find yourself no longer within view from that beginning point but also not within view of your final destination. Yesterday I did something that not only had I dreamt of accomplishing but something that I knew would take a lot of hard work, I put in to upgrade to a Cat4 road. I sent in my request yesterday along with my racing resume and recieved my upgrade conformation a couple of hours later. The idea all started when I was at the team party and a fellow teammate Chris Hudson asked me if I was planning on Cat-ing up this season. I gave him some answer which I am sure he saw right through to my true feeling which was doubt that I could even compete as a Cat4 yet. He was polite and accepted my answer, but what he didn't realize is that he had planted a seed, a seed that grew into questions for me. The next morning I went onto USAcycling's site to check to see if I had completed the manditory 10 road races needed to cat up to a four, I counted 8 road races and 18 Cross races. I thought that posting this to my Facebook status update would satisfy my questions/doubts of cat-ing up, until I get a message a few minutes later from Britton a Cat2 and store owner of Volker Bicycles saying that USAcycling would take into consideration all of my resume not just my road races. I flat out asked him if he thought I should cat-up and he said yes. So here I am again with thoughts of should I or shouldn't I cat up. I knew what I had to do, I texted four more people all on my team, all much faster riders than I am and I asked them their well respected opinion too. All came back saying that I should. So now I have my answer yet I am still hesitant to click on the send button. Why am I so hesitant, what am I afraid of, everyone is telling me to do it but I have some reservations. I remember being 5 years old and living in Puerto Rico. My dad at the time worked for Abbott laboratories. Employment with Abbott included many fringe benefits, one being membership to Dorado Beach country club. It had Chi-Chi Rodriguez's signature golf course, tennis courts, club house, and most importantly a olympic size pool where I would learn to swim.
I only have a few memories of learning to swim and all of them aren't the most positive. The memories are mostly of my trying to stay afloat with the instructor commanding me to swim to her and she promised not to move. If this story sounds familier to you then you will know that she never stood still and she always backed away forcing me to swim further away from the wall and deeper into the pool. I can still remember the panic I would experience when she would back away. With the more lessons I had the less panic I would feel, and eventually I gained confidence, learned to love to it, and even raced on a swim team in middle school. My cycling journey has come to that point where I have to take my hands off that wall and be willing to swim out to the deeper ends of the pool. I can no longer hide in the kiddie pool. I now have to compete with the big kids in the deeper pools.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Knock Knock Who Is It? New Season

So a New season is upon us. I know I have neglected my blog for the last couple of months but to be honest nothing much has happened in my cycling world until this passed weekend. Saturday was our team signing party and what a party it was. Free beer, food, and sounds. Colavita/Parisi is growing into one big family, and a happy one at that. We have gained some new faces and some familiar ones and we are going to be an even bigger force to reckon with this year.

So I remember at last year's signing party when Adam Keck recieved the award of most improved rider, I had secretly told myself that I wanted to win it for next year. Those are big shoes to fill as Adam is a person to respect both on and off the bike. I trained as much as I could all year with my life being turned upside down with the addition of my daughter Lucy. My wife was and has always been supportive of me, I am a lucky man. Well as you have guessed it, I won it. Having all my hard work recognized by my teammates means a great deal to me. Some are and others have been state champs. I remember my first time going out with them for a Saturday morning ride. I kept up with the group for 4 miles and promptly got dropped. They were only pedaling at an easy pace too. My how things have changed for me.

Sunday was our first team ride with all the new guys. It feels funny calling others new and not considering myself a newbie anymore. We had a pretty nice turnout, I think there was 24 people in all. We got into a 2 by 2 line and worked on our pace line for several miles. We also had a "gentlemans race" and it was a blast. We broke up into 5 groups and we raced to an agreed upon destination. This destination was at the top of the second of two long climbs. I am not a strong climber and it is early in the season, but with the confidence of being called the most improved rider I told myself that I was not going to hinder my team in any way. By the time we reached the base of the first climb I was 5th man back and moved up to 4th at the summit. Since the team I was on was all together we took off on our descent on our way to the next climb. We had a large lead on every one else. It was just the four of us at the finish line. I was pumped and surprised at how well I did. The winning team got pizza and coca cola paid for by everyone else. I had already been gone a few hours and wanted to go home and spend some time with Kate and Lucy.

I want to take this time to thank everyone who has given me words of encouragement, it makes it a lot easier to stay focused knowing that I am making improvements in my riding. I have found a great bunch of guys that I am proud to call my friends, and teammates.