Steve Chapin has been racing road, cyclocross, mountain, and triathlon since 1991, with varying degrees of success throughout. A former Cat I with 24 Ironman races and 33 marathons under his belt, Steve turns 50 in May, and has set his sights on an ambitious plan of connecting racing and community by racing 50 events during the 2020 calendar year.
We are taught the importance of determination at a young age, how a willingness to succeed can surpass any preconstructed limitations we may have imposed upon ourselves. It’s merely a matter of redefining and accepting our revised construct of our boundaries. Libraries are strewn with sports psychology books with a root message that you will never know how much you can do until you try something more.
There is also a contrasting and subsequent pivotal moment in life when you realize you have reached the other side of the infinite curve of growth; improvements in strength, fitness, and your greatest performances might in fact now be only seen in the rear view mirror. Sure, you may kick and scream with a dogged stubbornness and absolute refusal of acceptance, but eventually you will succumb.
After 3 or so years of successfully kicking that can down the road, I’ve accepted that the soon-to-be 50-year version of myself may not, in fact, be able to do what the 25-year old version of me could do. After a momentary cry of mercy, a bit of reflection and a shifting of goals, the hatching of a new plan began.
For years, I’ve joked with my wife that like a dog, all I really need is to be let out to run (or ride) around a bit, and for the most part, I’m remarkably happy. And after over 500 races, what it really comes down to is riding and racing with friends. I no longer define myself by results or feel confined to any discipline in particular, but am inspired by racing with friends in a variety of racing. Spicy stuff, as they say.
So what better way to celebrate my 50th year than by competing in 50 events, including gravel, Gran Fondos, road, cross country, short track, cyclocross, XTERRA, trail running, and even a handful of events which don’t require pinning on a number but I consider worthy in their own rite as long, as I can convince a handful of friends to join. The more the merrier, because community through sport is at the root what truly drives this whole endeavor.
So there it is: 50 events in 2020. With friends. Spanning just about any discipline. Let the games begin.
Author: Steve Chapin