September is lazily rolling to a close and calendars everywhere are running out of pages: the last monument of the World-tour calendar, the Giro di Lombardia is a few short weeks away and the Texas State Championships concluded the official TXBRA calendar last weekend. The end of one calendar year always brings with it the start of the next; a time of year I like to think of as the Euro New Year. Racers everywhere are getting ready to hang up their race bikes for a couple of weeks before starting to build toward the fresh spring races; only a few more Driveway races remain to entice the Austin-area peloton to continue throwing legs over the top-tubes to ride out whatever fitness remains from State.
For some, the Euro New Year means a much needed vacation from the bike, after close to 9 months of sacrifice, to let the mind recover; time spent with our ladies and our friends (or our lady-friends, if you’re following me) enjoying beers and other divine treats that were feared and avoided during the season. Others will ride the fitness wave into Cross season and get exposed to crazy things like hecklers, cow-bells, barriers, high-side primes and run-ups. Personally, I’m in the former camp and not the later, although I will be doing my best to mix the former with the later by making appearances at the cross races (ladies, friends and beers in tow) to heckle the suffering masses. Regardless if the plan is completely removed from the bike or is a simple change from calipers to cantilevers, the basic goal is still the same: immerse a tired mind in something relaxing; bring fun back into the equation.
Notice the relaxed posture, the beverages (Belgian style, of course) and the lack of form-fitting clothing; this man is ready to celebrate the Euro New Year.
As I’ve mentioned, during the weeks around the Euro New Year, it is customary to relax one’s lifestyle slightly; possibly even smiling during what rides there are. Oddly enough (or predictably if you are of the initiated) this period of relaxation brings with it an inner consciousness, resulting in an almost automatic reflection on the past year and projection of riding goals into the coming months. The hours that were once dedicated to endeavors such as riding and racing will be dedicated to talking and thinking about these endeavors; a minor difference indeed, but a very important one. So vitally important because reliving past successes give us an idea of what greater success will taste like, while every failure is used to stoke the motivational fire that cooks that wonderful fire-grilled success pizza. Hopes and dreams are born during the Euro New Year.
“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” -Maria Robinson.
I got this quote with my check at Blue Dahlia Bistro (kind of like a fortune cookie…except at a French bistro, and the bill isn’t a delicious cookie) and found it very fitting to the New Year. It is impossible to change the events of last season, but ripping legs off next season is the fastest surefire way to forget about them. So, to all my friends, “Happy New Year!” Or, as they would say in Flanders, “Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!”