A lot of time, money, and energy has been spent to get me and my wife to Bend, OR along with our friends Matt and Lizz James. When we first started talking about the trip back in August, we've gone back-and-forth about the affordability, feasibility, and utilitarian aspects of this undertaking. With a 2-year-old at home, a limited budget, demanding jobs, and having already spent a few months with bicycle racing dominating virtually every weekend from Sep-Dec, there were many reasons not to make this trip.
In September and October, it looked like it wasn't a good idea to make the trip. It would be too much to fly and then ship bikes, then requiring a rental car big enough to transport the bikes. Leaving out daughter also seemed like a terrible idea since she is every bit of a 'needy' 2-year-old right now (not sure if needy is the right word, but if you have kids or know many 2 year olds, you probably know what I mean).
Slowly however, we began coming up with solutions.
-First and foremost, grandparents offered to take time off work and come to our house too keep our daughter on her own turf. Unbelievably kind. Best christmas/bday present to us ever!
-Maggie and I got to use her parents frequent flyer miles for our plane tickets, again, an incredible bday/xmas present. Thank you SO much.
-We'd find the cheapest rental house possible and split it with Matt and Lizz. We can cook, do laundry, and relax in our own space!
-Bikes would be provided for us by the Specialized demo truck! These were full sram force equipped Cruxes with Zipp 303s and Dugast Rhino tubulars! All, because Specialized is an amazing company with a ton of great people working for them.
-Because we'd have bikes waiting for us, we could split a cheaper and smaller rental car with Matt and Lizz! Amazors!
The lingering issue was the question Maggie and I had about the trips' selfishness with respect to our family and our jobs. Was it worth it? Should we devote so much time and energy to a weekend away at a huge bike race? I'm not a pro cyclist and have no intentions of ever being one. The chance of doing well in the race was realistically the chance of a top-20 finish in the Master's 30-34 category. If we're going to take a vacation, why not just a cozy weekend away at a B&B in Missouri?
At this point, the cyclocross aspects of the trip have made every ounce of energy poured into bike racing completely worth it. The race is over and now it is time to just enjoy this incredible state and town of Bend.
The race yesterday was unreal. Matt and I started in the 5th and 4th rows respectively and both battled our way to middle of the pack finishes (41st and 31st place out of 74 racers) and easily had one of the coolest cycling experiences I've ever had. There were 6in deep water puddles, long quick-sand mud sections, a drum core marching band, hundreds of cheering fans, tons of cow bell, and every person I raced with seemed to be very positive about it.
Plus, our biggest fans were there to support us and put up with our silly passion for riding curly bar road bikes around a small loop in the grass, cold, rain/snow, and mud. My stress level right now is zero. In my own crazy mind, that makes me better as a husband, father, scientist, and person.