Checkpoint Zero/Inov-8 Team Blog
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A Nasty Habit
posted Monday, March 23, 2009 by Team Checkpoint Zero @ 11:07 AM - 1 comments

"The pride of youth is in strength and beauty, the pride of old age is in discretion."

The e-mails were a wee bit easier to pass off than the phone call. Although Peter's tone was more or less characteristic of his witty and self deprecating nature, I could tell that he was slightly frustrated. He had gone through his list of alternates but no one was dumb enough to join the team for E-FIX. Although my resolve towards taking a break from racing had been tempered by a new allegiance to school, financial security and alpine climbing, Pete was able to sweeten the deal and pull a "Yes" out of me. My ego didn't need a boost but somehow I felt needed by the team. I was a pansy for caving, but deep down I still wanted to head into battle with my fellow Zeros and see what West Virginia has to offer. The only thing left to do was get back on the pain train.

I had all but given up on adventure racing, a sport that reeks of excess and absurdity in a time when people are having trouble maintaining their standard of living. With each day growing more desperate in our economy, who has the time to leave work and spend money on something as selfish as adventure racing? Most of the prolific racers in the southeast have families, which should undoubtedly be their foremost concern, not how to perform the equivalent of a back-country car-jacking. While I'm usually only beholden to one (unless my girlfriend reads this, which then increases the number to two), adventure racing isn't the sport of choice for college students (it's beer pong if you were wondering). It's expensive, time consuming, and at times downright miserable.

Earlier in the year I sent an e-mail to Peter announcing my intentions to take the spring off from racing. Last fall gave me a bunch of debt and numb feet for several months. Sure, I had wonderful memories of all the epics and surreal moments from racing, but was it worth it all if you absolutely destroyed yourself and still stayed the bride's maid? The icing on the cake came after Nationals when I sold my beloved mountain bike to pay the bills- a betrayal of character that paralleled taking my dog to be put down. My bike was one of my most prized possessions, a gift from a dear friend and my only source of transportation when I was without a car for over a year. I just couldn't give any more to satiate my fix.

Last weekend I pulled-off my crowning achievement in the hybrid realm of sports and women. My girlfriend and I paddled Section II and part of Section III on the Chattooga in the pouring rain. After that we tarped it for the night, fulfilling my need to go ludicrously ultra-light in every aspect of my life (stuffing overnight gear into a white-water boat isn't easy regardless of how light you go). Instead of using two cars to shuttle the boats, we ran the eleven miles back to the put-in along the Bartram Trail and then drove back for the hidden boats. It was probably while taking a pee break/ scouting Dick's Creek Ledge under the crashing heavens that I realized that I wasn't even training for E-FIX, that multi-sport was part of my lifestyle. I was born for this, not adapted. When you find the activity that best suites you, overlooking that gift is a crime. I'll be able to sleep with the financial, emotional and physical scars from adventure racing with what I know now: I was built to suffer.