Monday, August 20, 2007

The End of an Era

I got an e-mail from Thad his morning announcing the end of Team 14 as we know it. It is sad day. But I know, I mean I really, really know where he is coming from. This sport takes a toll on any relationship that is not a cycling relationship. In order to succeed (or be mediocre, in my case) you must spend a tremendous amount of time on the bike year 'round. If you spend that much time on a bike, you are going to alienate a few friends and family members off the bike. I know that because I've done that.

And that only counts the time on the bike. There is a huge time committment related to running a bike team. I got a taste of that because Thad allowed me to manage the Team 14 mountain bike squad this year. It was great fun, but at the same time it was a tremendous responsibility, and more of a time committment than I had anticipated. So I can totally relate to where Thad is coming from.

It is so easy to get wrapped up in a hobby (after all, this is just a hobby, right?), and in doing that we neglect those that are closest to us. It is also difficult to find balance when you are also struggling with the desire to succeed. I've gone through it several times in my life with several different hobbies. It doesn't help that I have some OCD tendencies. When I get into something, I GET INTO IT.

Frequent readers will remember my TAGGED post from last winter. My MO with hobbies is to jump into them with both feet, then lose interest after a few years.

Am I in the twilight of my bike racing career? I don't think so, but time will tell.


Bruce Brown said...

As my blog says, "Family Always Comes First". I read Thad's email this morning and it was clear he has been mulling over for quite some time how to pare back on some things to free up time for family and friends. We all have to strike a balance of sanity to function and not melt down.

Paul Varnum said...

Bruce -

Well said.

B I D W E L L said...

Amen- Trying to find balance this year has made the riding pretty much non-existant for this fellow. My previous passion was BV and cigs.(replaced addictions;) so I can understand the worries on "extreme behaviours" It(biking)will be found again and will have balance. It is something both myself and the S.O. have been working on. Tis not easy. Good luck with a new team and remember- delegating is not always easy, but necessary. Great post PV!

Paul said...


I am sorry to hear about your team, but I also understand.

I am MUCH like you in that I go crazy over things as well. I have had to step back this summer for some family things as well. And that is ok. I can't push down on the pedals quite as hard, but.... they are just pedals.

I can't wait to get on the rode with you again soon Paul.

Paul Varnum said...

Bidwell -
Its interesting to note how many cyclists have replaced other unhealthy addictions with cycling. I've heard that story many, many times.

OP -
You are absolutely correct, they are just pedals. We get out again real soon.

Travel Gravel said...

Varnum, It's a weird feeling isn't it? "Yah, I'm on a team, we rock....what?, the team is disbanded? I thought we were all so into it!" I, like the others, understand and totally support you guys as you make your way through the end of this season and look toward the next. DO NOT CHANGE TO SAILING AS A HOBBIE! Just imagine Christopher Cross in your head for eternity! Later!

Paul Varnum said...

Greg -

You make me laugh man! Don't worry. I'm gonna keep riding my bike. I've all ready got a couple of possibilities. Stay tuned . . .

Anonymous said...

Hey, New team name --- The Gravel Grinder Amigos. Sounds Good, right? No? Oh well, I'll have Sundays for fall rides if anyone is interested. Nick W.

Pete Basso said...

Paul - I've been riding since 1989 as a sophomore in college. Rode all the way through my twenties till about 26 yrs old. All the sudden my job and finding my wife became very important. Then I got married and tried to find my way through the employment chain. From 26 to 30 I barely rode much at all. Finally, moved to IA and life came together...nicely I might add, then I came back to my only bad habit...CYCLING. After gaining 30+ lbs I picked up the bike and started my obsession all over again. Thad is young and has plenty of time to put biking down for while and recapture life, then pick it up if he's still interested and jump back in. Lots of people do it that way.

Paul, from a selfish standpoint, I hope you stay in cycling. Your a cool dude and I'd hate to loose you down the road. (Although I have to admit, riding in the winter makes me want to quit some days).

Paul Varnum said...

Nick -

I don't what its gonna be called yet, or even if it is gonna happen, but stay tuned.

Pete -

Cool story. I should come up to DM this winter a few times so we can do some rides.

Don't worry. Thad just wants to take a step back, and I'm not going any place.

I've been out of and back into hobbies several times. The trick for me (and I struggle with this) is finding a balance so that the hobby does not turn into an obsession.