Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I just want to say THANKS to the head of my fan club in Australia. He's a great guy, someone who has supported me through a difficult moment, and whose kindness and compassion I will forever cherish. Despite his own personal hardship, he takes the time to ring me from down under, and try to cheer me up. That's class, and it reinforces my belief in the kindheartedness of Aussie's in general.

Many of you have written asking for an update on the situation with Yuliet. I really appreciate your support, and I wish I had better news. As it stands, however, there is no update, other than to say Yuliet is in Cuba. Beyond that exists only speculation.

I am always struck by the novelty of cyclingnews.com's published interviews with European cycling stars who were passing through difficult times, whether in or out-of-competition. Most of these interviews are lifted from publications like La Gazzetta dello Sport, or recorded in European press conferences before being translated into english. Thus, the riders were typically speaking in their native tounges. I think the #1 english word that appears in this reports is "tranquil."

For example, Basso says: "I remain prudent and tranquil and will keep counting on my team to protect me."

Cunego says, "For my first time, I continue to be a little nervous but I am trying to remain tranquil."

Salvodelli says, " "I did not panick when a slipped behind. I was tranquil in the most difficult moments of the stage..."

In Spanish, they say "tranquilo," in Italian "calma."

It's a state of mind, and I'm not there right now. I'm 31 years old right now. I rode my first full european season this year. The last time I touched a bike was 23 July, and I sold all of my equipment because I wanted to support my wife financially. For a variety of reasons, it is unlikely that I will return to full-time competition in 2007 and I am not finishing my career on my own terms.

That's the way of this universe, however, and whilst bitter, it is a pill that eventually I have to swallow. Right now I feel like your dog, when you're trying to give him his medicine and he's having none of it. Before I officially announce my retirement, however (if that is the ultimate course of action), I'd like to pen one more diary for cyclingnews.com, in which I share with the up-and-coming riders of this generation the salient lessons learned in 10+ years of elite biking . I think Lesson #1 would be to maintain an identity outside of our sport, so that if an abrupt transition befalls you too, you're capable of seamlessly moving into your post-cycling life. I most decidely have not had an easy transition during the last three months, and it's made me realize the utter necessity of maintaing strong ties with family, friends and colleagues outside of the comeptitive world. This is not to say that elite riders who are not making thousands and thousands of dollars as competitive athletes should not be 100% focused on their sport. Rather, it's simply a view from the trenches, that one day the circus tears down the big top, and prepare yourself for a life less glamorous, or at least your own personal moment that is less-than-tranquil.

1 comment:

  1. I just want to say a huge thanks for the kind words,i just want you to know that im behind you 100%,and you know that.

    Friends are people who you know you can rely on when you need it the most,people who support you always,whatever the situation.

    A time like now,when we need to pray for Joe and Yuliet,pray for her safe return,and to have her reach the US right now.

    God bless you,he knows how much we want you reunited,it will happen.


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