I meant to write this three weeks ago. But, weddings happen, and those three days you're off work before walking down the aisle really aren't as "free" as you think they are. And so, I'm sitting here on a Saturday morning writing something I really meant to write long before. Seems fitting for the past six months of being an editor here, really.
Because, what I'm writing is my "goodbye... but not really goodbye" to the Cafe. After three and a half years, I'm stepping down from being one of our three editors, freeing up Chris and Jens to pass on the reins to someone with more time to do the role justice.
It all started in the summer of 2011. The Tour was coming up, and being an editor during the Tour takes a lot of work. Everyone wants to talk about all the things, so we make sure there are stage previews, recaps, power polls, and other pieces about stories that caught our interest. Oh, it's enjoyable! But, having an extra hand on deck is never bad and so Jen See - Gavia, as many of you know her here - asked if I wanted to help out with some previews and post-stage pieces. I'd been hanging around a while, chatting it up in the comments and having a grand old time enjoying the quirky way we approached talking about racing. Sure, I thought... I can give this a try!
I was hooked. Five months later I came aboard as a third editor.
The years since have afforded me the opportunity to grow significantly as a writer. We never seem to tire of citing Greg Lemond's axiom "It never gets easier, you just go faster," but that's because there's a lot of truth in it. Writing didn't get easier, but repetition made it better. But, more than that, working in close proximity with other people whose way of approaching cycling in a fun manner changed how I wrote. So, to Jen, Chris, and Jens, I have to say "Thank you for teaching me, even though you didn't realize you were."
I'll readily admit a lot of what I wrote wasn't so great. I mean, route announcements for the Tour of California can only inspire a writer so much, and the constraints of writing on the side when your'e in a PhD program and also racing bikes a lot are substantial. But, it made me realize that I really did enjoy writing.
In fact, my three and a half years as an editor here are probably one of the reasons I have the job I have now.
You see, four months ago I moved to Madison, WI, to start a job as a technical writer for a software company here. The writing is way different, but they definitely seemed intrigued by the words I'd smithed for the Cafe. Maybe I would've still gotten the job, but maybe not - especially since part of my interview was writing assessments.
But, in the flurry of moving and the months preceding that, my writing here suffered. Last fall, overworked from trying to balance teaching, research, racing, and a contentious relationship with my PhD advisor, I lost some focus on professional racing. Eventually, I stopped my cross season halfway through, realizing that racing was more stress (especially at poorer results because of less training) than fun. I rode less, but enjoyed it more. I *gasp* ran, and enjoyed it. I skied a lot more over the summer. I decided not to race for a team this year, and I started racing less but going on more stupidly fun suicide attacks with five laps left in crits. And, I stopped caring about who won the Volta a Catalunya - at least for right now. (The cobbled classics were different, but of course I was watching at least the final 100km of Flanders and Roubaix. And E3. And probably Dwars.)
Chris told me that nobody blogs here forever, and he's mostly correct. You see, the Cafe is like the Hotel California - you can check out but you can never leave. Gavia moved on to more freelance work, but she keeps popping up, especially around the Giro. And I'll do the same. If anyone thinks I won't be brimming with enthusiasm to write about cross season, they're dead wrong. Thinking about Koksijde is giving me chills already. And as I slide out of posting stories, I'll ease back into the comments sections where I grew to love this site. So, I'll see you around, and talk to you more, and it's going to be great.