Friday, December 8, 2006

The Contender

When I signed up for the Transrockies, I had two candidates in mind.

The first candidate was a suggestion that Erik made to me. My first reaction was no. I'm not going to lie, I was intimidated by her. I'd never talked to her, but we'd exchanged hello's at several of Erik's bike races. She does bike races with the same team as Erik. It seemed absurd to me that she would ever even entertain the idea of doing this race with someone that has never raced and has limited experience on a mountain bike. At the same time, I knew she would have many of the qualities that I would want in a partner, so I sent her an email asking if she'd like to do the race with me.

The second candidate was someone I had actually talked to before. I knew her through a friend. She had the advantage of a bit more familiarity but, with no racing experience, there were more uncertainties with respect to skill level, fitness, endurance and ability to handle tough situations. Ultimately, she declined my invitation after deciding she was not ready to take on this level of commitment. I was glad that she was able to make this decision early on and I look forward to riding with her this summer. It will be interesting to see what kind of a match we would have made.

But, back to the first candidate. To my surprise, she did not say no. She did not say yes either. Instead, we exchanged emails discussing what our objectives might be for the race. It seemed like there could be some potential for us to be a good team, but this was not a decision to be taken lightly. A logical first step was to have a real, in person conversation. We met for lunch Today. I was pretty nervous. I was happy that she had not said no, but I was struggling with wanting to try to get her to say yes (I really wanted to impress her), while knowing it would be better if it was her own decision i) to do the race, and ii) do the race with me. I was also struggling with how to balance all of this with the decision I would have to make regarding whether I would still want to do the race with her. What if I didn't like her. Would it be really rude to go through all of these motions and then tell her I wanted to go find another partner?

Lunch was good. I'm even more excited about the prospect of this girl as my partner. I think we have a similar philosophy with respect to what the race should be about. She has a different lifestyle than I do. I think it would be good for me to spend time with someone that lives a bit differently than I do - I think we could learn a lot from each other. There are still a lot of question marks - there's only so much you can cover over lunch. But, for whatever reason, I have a good feeling about it. She's still a contender. I would definitely have a lot of work to do to close the skills and fitness gap between us - but I think we'd have a lot of fun as a team. She told me that she would give me an answer by the end of the year. So, I'm just going to have to be patient over the next few weeks as she mulls it over.


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