Nostalgia.

Last Friday my FaceSpace feed reminded me of a post I made on that same day four years before.
When you get this email from your coach:
"Hard to believe, but racing starts in a little over a month. Time to start getting your game face on!"
...you know it's going to hurt. I thought I had my game face on, but looking at the schedule she has planned, I think she means a contorted mask of pain.
The thing is, it was probably my most successful season. Probably the highlight of that year was the GC win at the Tour of Fairbanks, but I remember riding pretty well that entire season. I didn't win an excessive amount or even podium, but I was more or less in the mix. This was before I learned how to be a douchebag, so I spent my fair share of time out in the wind, pulling everyone around.
  
It's kinda hard to pin a good year down solely to fitness, because so many factors play into it. Janice Tower set me up well fitness-wise. I was light (for me) and motivated. I had goals.
 
However, a lot of it was the guys I was riding with. We had a good group of relatively matched riders that year, and we had a lot of fun. Some have stopped racing road for various reasons. Some have moved out of the state. Some have gotten much faster or slightly slower than me. New riders came in and influenced the balance.
 
It isn't the same type of group anymore. Those of us that raced together that year still talk about how much fun it was. I don't think it's possible to replicate through regulation or simply having the same people race together again. It's a convergence of a whole lot of things that make things groove. Every year is different. Some are better, some are worse, which makes the good years all that much more special.
 
By certain standards, I'm stronger now than I was that year. I like that, because it gives me hope that another great year packed with fun racing is just around the corner. The "X-factor" that makes everything gel might happen. Then in a few years I can be nostalgic about the 2017 season.
 
You never know.

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