I read a post on BKW this morning that suits my season very well, I try not to look for validation, that wouldn't be a good excercise. I love racing, too much sometimes. Suffering up that hill anonymously in the singlespeed race was fun. I smiled the whole way, enjoying the miserable experience of turning that gear over. I finished and had a great feeling, trying not to dwell on the fact that I avoided a good result at nats for the second year in a row but the smile was there, the effort OK. I had validation in hearing people yelling and heckling me from the side, making sure they got the point across that there shouldn't be a smile in the middle of a cross race, there shouldn't be happiness in the middle of all that suffering. It's there. I felt it. At the party Sunday night when I was just trying to talk, too hoarse to really form a sentence I got validation, sitting back quietly and watching the people put on a different kind of show, drinks in hand, my water glass never full enough, too tired to entertain a beer, I felt comfortable, in the group, part of it on my terms, in my head knowing that the result didn't matter as much as the effort, some years aren't as good as others. This one was great for different reasons, next year will be good for others, I hope. Minimal injuries, a few really fun races and a clean slate for 2009. Nothing is up in the air that prevents the first 8 months of '09 from preparing me for the last 4. In a row, it all fits, out of order the line is broken.