21 December 2007 By Rachel’s

No money in the sport

So every now and then (or quite often!) I read a blog post or article in Velo news, etc. about there being no money in the sport. Bart recently brought up some interesting thoughts about why the sport is not evolving as it could in his latest reads. Coming from someone, that in this town at least, everyone knows, respects, and secretly wishes we ride like, it really made me think.
Ya, I rarely read Velo news because you always hear about the same people, the same doping problems, etc., etc. I for one love hearing stories of all riders. Blogs are usually where I spend my time these days as you get to learn about real people who love for their sport so much that they find a way to make it happen. The ultrafast genetic freaks definitely inspire me in that they show limits of human potential, but it is most certainly everyone else and each story of each rider that really stirs my own passion to race–this is especially when the majority of the professional stars cheat to get where they are. When I make it big in my triathlon world, I am going to prove that it can be done with pure love of heart and taking ultimate care of my body while training/racing and living day to day.

If I only got into biking for $$$, I would have been gone a long time ago. It is so much more to me than just the dollars. Every now and then I win a little cash which is nice, but even when I know I’m spending so much more–for me almost everything I have to race, the why I race is so much more important. Everyone who knows me very well, knows that even being able to get on my bike or run the last 7 years has been difficult and at times when my health wouldn’t permit it, completely impossible. Oddly, it is those times when I couldn’t do the things that bring me so much joy, that I truly learned how much I love it. I will never ever take what I have that way for granted ever again. Biking and now triathlon brings me the greatest sense of freedom I have ever felt. I love pushing my body and each day finding what my potential is. Sometimes it is greater than others, but I love to dream about where it will take me each moment and day and year and through my life.

I know a lot of people don’t like him, but Lance Armstrong is such an example to me. It is so amazing that for him to finally find true success in cycling, he went through his own version of hell. When he finally came back with purpose and passion rather than just anger, his body responded and took him to places I’m not certain even he had fathomed. The cool thing to me is that through his story, passion, and yes, his wins, he won Americas hearts. Look at what this did for our sport. So many 1,000’s of people found the courage in their own hearts to pick up a bike perhaps for the first time since childhood. Beyond that, they picked up on the energy of helping others and found a purpose beyond themselves to ride. Imagine if every ride and race we all did had a purpose and passion beyond just our egos. Amazing things happen.

The focus right now in the media and in most of our minds is on doping. That is all anyone is noticing. It’s no wonder cycling has such a reputation. I know we can change it. I love the ideas I’ve seen posted about sending stories to Velo News and other media outlets about some of our local heros and good things going on in our town. I love it that Mama T. and Jennie, etc. set up a blog for women biking fanatics! I love seeing racers who go out of their way to welcome all riders into our community even if it is just acknowledging others when riding instead of just giving a self-proclaimed elitist snub. What is that?!? It is funny to me because so often I’ll be out riding and if I’m in my race kit, everyone says hi. If I’m not, very rarely do they. What is that all about? All I know is that I am going to continue as best as I can to bring a positive energy to both my cycling and triathlon game and hopefully everyone will do the same. Even if I only help one other person fall in love with cycling, at least that is one person, which grows in to two, then four, then eight….Just watch!

I suppose my bottom line with this entire rampage is that I am going to do all I can to spread a positive image concerning my sport and life in general. I encourage everyone else to do the same. By focusing on all of the fun and positive aspects, and especially healthy drug/cheat free racing, all of those dopers will eventually kill themselves off anyway….leaving room for more people, competition, positive media (uh maybe), more $$$ etc. Happy riding!!

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I will always remember waking up at the age of 12 to the pain I saw in so many while simultaneously realizing how lucky I was to feel fantastic.

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