It's somthing I've been thinking a lot about recently - when you make the shift from doing something regularly by choice to having to do it regularly. Think chucking in the day job to become a full-time artist. Or taking a photography enthusiasm to the next level and getting freelance work. Or tiling someone else's bathroom floor in exchange for a few bottles of wine. Or in this weekend's case, going from riding a bike for fun, to riding a race where the general idea is to go faster thant everyone else.
The last time I had to go fast on a bike was a few years ago now. Since then most of my riding has been by myself, and in short fast loops around town, where it's hard to gauge how fast you're really going. But races are good in that it's kind of nice to push hard and make muscles burn in places you didn't know existed, and collapse in the midst of both a massive endorphin rush and total leg failure on the finish line, with a smug sense of achievement. And it really does make beer taste better.
So on Saturday in a scrappy sodden sandy pine forest near Levin I entered a race. 34km of fast logging tracks, bike carrying up nasty hills, loose sandy singletrack, and more than a few knee deep puddles. On this occasion I came in 5th. And it was good. It made me want to go get a superfast superlight race bike, put in some serious training miles, and maybe do some races again.
Maybe it'll even inspire me to chuck in the day job...