I just want to ride bikes. Seriously. I want to ride fast, and ride slow. I want to jump big stuff and small stuff and maybe fall over a few times. I want to rail into a few fast corners every week and emerge with a silly grin on my face. I want to pedal until my legs burn and my chest heaves. All the time. Day in and day out. I want to travel to other places and ride. I want to teach other people to ride, and to love the ride.
I guess it's probably a good thing that we don't always get what we want, eh?
That's where decisions come in... About racing, about working, about riding and buying more bikes and bike stuff. About dating and how a boyfriend would REALLY cut into my ride time, race trips and bike budget, as well as which races to race, and which weekends to just stay home and go jump off of stuff with my buddies?
I work hard for my money ( insert "she works haaaard for her money!" sound clip here), and at the end of my life (which could be next Tuesday or a random Tuesday 70 years from now), it's important not what I bought with that money that comes from effort + time, but what I did with my funding that will matter.
So with the (extremely limited) amounts of cold, hard cash I have, I have to make decisions. Hard decisions that will ultimately determine which direction my life (and legacy) go in... Like the Olympics. Or just influencing cultures and seeing the world and loving people.
Anyone who knows me even a little knows that I'm regularly split in a bunch of different ways, and I usually battle myself over which road I head down. With bikes it's no different, but because it's my passion, these warring paths seem a bit larger choices. Right now, those choices are:
1: Build American DH and mountain bike racing up through business efforts, example and competition incentives with the hopes of one day, having our precious sport represented on the largest athletic stage of all -- the Olympics. This endeavor will take years of work, cooperation and immense amounts of money. Like, corporate sponsor kind of money. However, there's a formula to doing so, and all it will take is %100 commitment and work towards that goal. Do I do it now? While I'm fairly young? Do I chase this and hope that my broken body will hold out long enough to realize the dream of representing my country alongside my teammates at the largest sporting event in the world? Will I sacrifice to grow downhilling into a mainstream career, where the athletes and teams actually do more than break even? Or do I go after this dream, knowing I'll never have the chance to participate, but that through my efforts and work, create the chance for other American women to achieve greatness? To give Natalie and other girls one more opportunity for success? Another path to choose from? Changing the future of downhilling so that others can successfully participate and live out their dreams is one of my strongest desires. Creating that chance for other racers and riders can be done -- am I the person to do that?
Or, 2: do I take the immense amounts of cash it will take me to pursue choice #1 and just go ride? Not participate in internationally federated races that cost a ridiculous amount of money to 'play' in, and instead, go race grass-roots local races in other countries all over the world and meet new people, create my own adventures and live happily ever after my doing anything of historical significance, but things of immense personal value? Do I pursue these adventures and photograph and write about them, and possibly inspire others to do the same? Do I grab the chance to interact and ride with other girls across the world and run with it in the hopes that somewhere, someday, I can change one life, even if it's only my own? Do I, essentially, go play on bikes from location to location and leave behind all convention and safety? Do I walk away from my life as I know it and embrace what could be my greatest adventure of all?
Or 3: Do I stay here in Utah, get a 9-5 desk job, find a husband who understands my unique brand of insanity, have 4-5 kids and ride only on weekends when I can, all while sleeplessly tossing and turning at night, feeling the infinite weight of unanswered 'what if's and 'should have's?
(Okay, #3 isn't really any sort of option because we all know that's not in my plans... Ever? But I had to throw it in there, right?)
So many questions... And all so pressing.
With so little time.