What’s My Motivation?

What’s my motivation?

It has been over a month since I posted anything new on this site. That was not my plan for the CX “off season.” I had hoped to get up some more interviews and really drill down into the gooey core of what makes cyclocross the sport we love. I could blame work or family on my lack of posts but that would be a cop out. It is actually more selfish than that. As I sit here, my road season is pretty much history and my cross season is up in the air. Because of that, my enthusiasm for this place has waned. I hope it doesn’t die but for now I am left asking “what’s my motivation?”

One of my core principles when starting this site was that it wasn’t supposed to be about me. There are enough blogs covering just one guy or gal. Many of them are great. My goal was to bring everybody else into the fold. I really enjoy seeking out the podium finishers and asking them my consistently redundant questions. The passion and creativity that people bring to the table in response to my banality is fun and entertaining to read. But those exchanges are months away. For now, not being able to ride competitively, I’m left with “what’s my motivation?”

When I was 14 years old I could dunk a tennis ball on a 10 foot rim. That alone gave me street cred on the playground. By sixteen I could throw it down two-handed, a novelty for a white boy from the suburbs. In my twenties I was playing the equivalent of Cat 1/2 hoops. Rec leagues, specialty leagues (I was a ringer for a couple lawyer teams), and of course, the playground. I got a couple look-sees from Division II schools but ended up picking a university for the curriculum rather than the hoop dreams. In the end, a fine decision. And frankly, the playground was so much more fun.

So why am I telling you this? Because I believe it is the cause of my present predicament. I remember having conversations with people at the time that included pronouncements such as “I would give anything to be able to dunk a basketball.” Really? Anything? Would you give your left leg? Because I believe that is what I have done.

Good times!

Good times!

I had one surgery 15 years ago. Today, I am only 40 and have the knee of a 60 year old. The cartilage is mostly gone on one side and my doctor keeps telling me if I want, he will do a knee replacement now. I don’t want.

I’m not ready to stop racing. Hell, I only started in 2003 and am just now starting to figure it out. This winter while building for the road season things were going great. I bumped my 20 minute critical power to around 350w and was feeling stronger than I ever had. And then … kablooey!!! Well, not really kablooey. Nothing popped, nothing snapped, in fact it wasn’t even my knee that started hurting, it was somewhere in my groin or hip. Tough to tell exactly but it felt like a knife through the region every time I tried to take a step. Spent a week of restless nights hopped up on Tylenol with codeine so I could get at least a couple winks. When that injury started to resolve the knee went south. No riding, no traumatic event, it just ballooned to the size of a grapefruit.

I got a bidon full of fluid sucked out of the joint three weeks ago. I also got a cortisone shot. That allowed me to ride for about a week. One easy-peezy interval session and bam. The grapefruit returns. It’s not the bike, it’s not the fit. It’s the two-handed alley-oops from the baseline. Mmmm, alley-oops. Cycling was the next obsession when I couldn’t do that anymore. And now? What’s my motivation?

Heck. Who cares? I’ve whined more here than I have most of my life. This is not supposed to be about me. Tomorrow I get to find out the results of my latest MRI and see what my options are. Maybe a scope to clean things out and see where that gets me. Maybe it’s reconstructive surgery or some experimental cartilage replacement surgery.

Whatever it is I know I’ll go into the appointment having had a breakfast of steel-cut oats with fruit. Maybe I’ll pop a gel 30 minutes before hand. Or I could opt for a donut instead.

Update: Arthroscopic surgery scheduled for next Thursday to take care of a meniscus tear and clean up some cartilage bits. Long term prognosis not too rosy. But that I knew. As the doc said, “it is what it is.” So make the best of it, right? Do what I can while I can.  What motivates me now? Charm City. Mos def.

Category: Commentary | Tags: 4 comments »

4 Responses to “What’s My Motivation?”

  1. Jesse Leifert

    Sorry to hear about your knee. I was wondering where you had been. Hopefully the doctors can do something to get you back on the bike. I hear you about motivation though…take something your passionate about away and it really takes away from everything else you have going on…chin up brother!

    +2 on the alley-oops…those were sweet. :)

  2. schiek

    Thanks, Jesse. And keep up the race reports. I look forward to reading about everybody’s progress and the undeniable emergence of the R1V lead-out train.

    +3 … reverse alley-oop. Only did it once, but oh was it nice.

  3. Simon Burney

    Good luck with the knee stuff… I’m right there with you.
    A vaguely promising Professional ‘Cross career vanished with one trip over a muddy set of hurdles when I was 24 and every single last ligament in my left knee snapped. A couple of total reconstructions, half a dozen ‘scopes, and as much intermittent bike riding over the last 20 years or so later I too find myself with an appointment on Friday to discuss a replacement, age 46.
    The lack of racing broke my heart for the first 10 years then subsided to a dull ache for the next 10, but I managed to keep my motivation for my sport alive by doing whatever I could to keep buried in the sport I loved; managing, coaching, race organising, book writing; whatever it took. I still hang onto nice bike bits and keep some Dugasts on ice on the off-chance I make a comeback, but the reality is I’m f**ked!
    I feel for you but keep it real; you might need a season out after some surgery and you might come back a bit slower and stiffer than you were but if you forget about the watts and simply enjoy racing ‘cross for the fun it is and re-adjust your goals you will still find motivation and keep the love.
    Maybe we can spend the next decade exchanging knee stories and looking for the latest Ti bolts or Carbon inserts to give us light, strong and waterproof joints to last us into old age!
    Good Luck!!
    Simon.

  4. schiek

    Simon, thanks for the good advice. You made my day.

    P.S.–A dog-eared copy of your book has a permanent place on my night stand.


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