And I wouldn't be lying to answer the question like that. During some downtime, though, I took a step back to gain some perspective and answer exactly why it is that I love racing my bike for a living.
I thought about the life I could have right now if I weren't racing. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Texas A&M (whoop!) with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. If I'd simply signed on the dotted line and taken the job I had waiting for me, and even doubled my expenses from last year (saving the rest), I'd have ~$40,000 in my bank account right now. But I don't care.
I like to joke that cycling is my job. While at home this last month, I'd sigh as I walked out the door in my kit and tell my dad, "well, I've got to go to work...." In truth, it is my job. But a paycheck doesn't make me any more competitive, any more driven than I already was. If I had a desk job--and I've been there before--I'd spend every spare moment thinking about racing and training and sharpening my tanlines. But now, I get to do that every day.
It's hard to fully appreciate health until you've lost it, or seen someone else fight to regain theirs. Every time I talk to my parents, I get the latest news from my dad about his latest test results, how his back is doing, whether he's coughing much, how he's feeling in general. I look forward to the day that he's once again healthy enough that we can go on a bike ride like we used to--me telling him to hurry up, him telling me to hold my horses.
Whenever I start to feel stressed about training and racing, I just have to take a step back and realize how fortunate I am to be in this position and how ridiculous it is to be stressed out, and be reminded that I just need to have fun with it and never take anything for granted.
So, then, do I love my job?
You'd better believe I do.