The Value of Spectating

I haven’t been feeling awesome the past few days. maybe it was stress from work, or getting Saddle, Sore finally out and available. Maybe I was a little sick, maybe it was the stress of packing up and moving, or maybe it was the stress of the race season kicking off again. Whatever the reason, I needed some time off. And for once, I wasn’t sad about taking time off. I wasn’t motivated to do anything, at all. I tried riding and running and my legs felt like lead. I was tired, sore, thirsty, you name it.

This weekend was Bonelli, one of the US Cup MTB races, and I wasn’t racing. I never intended to race, so I didn’t feel bad about it. But I did start feeling guilty about lazing around while my friends were all out crushing themselves on the course.

But I knew my body was telling me to take it easy, so I stretched out in the sun, read outside, worked the pit, took some photos, did some interviews—basically, had a productively lazy day.

Peter working toward 5th in Pro Men Super D.

Peter working toward 5th in Pro Men Super D.

It was hard not racing, not running, not riding. But not as hard as it should have felt, and that, to me, means I needed days off, wicked bad.

That said, now that it’s Sunday (short track in an hour!), I still don’t really have a desire to hop into the race or anything. But I do have the urge to lace up my running shoes and hit the cross country course and do some trail running. And that’s what I need right now.

For racers out there—I think there is some value to just being a spectator every so often, perhaps especially when injured/sick/tired. It reminds us of how badass what we do is, and how cool it looks, and it reminds me that I do love racing. It’s easy to forget about that awesome feeling of being in the race when you’re sitting at home sulking and feeling sorry for yourself. But surrounding yourself with other motivated, excited, happy people? Yeah, that gets me going every time.

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