We often think that others have it better than us, or a different situation would be easier than our current scenario.
In most cases we don’t ever find out, we just fall back into what we do and wonder, “what if?”
I’m sure many of us that are big into mountain biking, would love to go back in time and change a few decisions, become a pro of some sort that gets paid to ride.
I’m not talking about a few free parts and a jersey to keep the cost of the sport down, but an actual salary that allows you to ride as much as you like and never work a real job. Wouldn’t that be awesome? It certainly sounds like the easy life.
Throughout my career in the bike biz, I’ve been lucky enough to befriend a few pros. Definitely nothing to do with my riding skill, just being part of this crazy industry had our paths cross. A couple of them live in Laguna Beach where Chenoa and I have been vacationing the last few winters, and I usually get out for a ride or two with them and maybe an aprés beer to catch up on life.
Being that it’s winter, these guys are always in contract mode with their sponsors. There is lots of shuffling, some scrambling for new sponsors, and a lot of unknowns. I get to sit in on some of their conversations and it’s stressful for me just listening. I can’t imagine what it’s like for them.
Think these riders’ careers are loads of fun, but each year there is that panic of “where is the next pay cheque coming from?”
No NHL player’s unions here, no long term contracts that you can retire on, nope, in the bike industry you scramble to convince the desired brands that you’re worth a bunch of money each year based on the exposure you’ll obtain.
And when that dries up, get a job like everyone else. Can you imagine being a pro your entire adult life, riding as much as you want every day, and then in your 40’s you need to become a working schmuck. I imagine that’s a tough pill to swallow.
So, As I hang out in Laguna Beach for a few weeks and get a look at the pro’s life in the offseason, I wonder if it is actually greener over on that side of the fence. Reality doesn’t often measure up the the dream.
Sure they live where they please, ride tons, and travel to the world’s best riding locations on someone else’s dime, but, they have to deal with the offseason stress every year while wondering if it’s all going to fall apart. (you want fries with that?)
So I wonder a bit more, and I decide, “Hell Yeah, that looks like really green grass to me.”
But, I’m not a pro, nor will I ever be, and when I look on my side of the fence, it’s pretty green over here too, so with that in mind …
I’m James Durand and I’m Going’ Ridin’…