Following the result in this photo, I've now officially attained the highest level an American amateur road cyclist can achieve, i.e. Category 1. It doesn't really mean much in real terms, other than making me eligible for some faster, longer races with professionals where I stand even less of a chance at winning. But winning -- while I really, really want to do it -- is almost incidental to the daily experience of this sport; you don't ride as much as I do unless you're after some other, more personal-growth-oriented sort of thing. And so despite it being glorified adult rec sports, I choose to value this symbolic achievement. It's hard to do, and I'm proud of having done it.
All the more so because growing up, I never was particularly attracted to or good at endurance sport; I only ran or swam to be basically competent at more interesting athletic pursuits. But then about 5 years ago, I started racing, and found in it some things I never knew I wanted: the unexpectedly emotional arc of transforming your body with a dedicated training plan; the subtle gameplay with all sorts of non-obvious strategy; the simple thrill of skillfully whizzing about at high speeds; the community that is in and around a peloton; the lessons of what it actually means to care about a thing enough to move around your time for its least pleasant elements, and even to learn to enjoy that work. It was revelatory to find something worth investing into, and the long maturity date on that investment only makes it sweeter to recoup.
Thanks to everyone on the scene who had a hand in it -- most of all to my friends and teammates and sponsors of District Velocity Racing p/b @bicycleproshop who very literally enabled me for all these years in every way you could imagine. Last weekend, they set me up to make the winning breakaway in a 3-hour road race in the heat, from where I barely held off the pack for third place, as seen here. : @dominioncyclingphotography #districtvelocityracing