Meet Action Jackon. Yep, that's what they called me at the races in 1996. For a sprint-focused rider, I was almost always attacking the field in the longer races like Scratch, Point-a-Lap, Tempo, Snowball... I was always itching to go. Almost always, if I wasn't already off the front, I'd attack the field with about 1.5 laps to go. It was almost my "signature move" and yet people always seemed surprised by it. I won a lot of races that way. Sure wish I could say that now.
'96 was the pinnacle of my racing. I won a lot of races, between Sprint meets, Keirins and Omniums, I've never been faster. Hell, I even won a 2-day criterium omnium. I initiated a break on the first day and then two other riders joined me. I took all of the points on the race and so I let the other two go for the "win" while I sat up and took third, but by virtue of all my points, I lead the omnium. The next day, I lapped the field, solo, and kept right on going and won solo. It was pretty darned cool and one of the highlights of 25 years of racing.
'96 was the fastest and fittest I've ever been. I'd love to be that fit again one day- or close to it. I rode a 1:08 Kilo and an 11.1 200m (in San Diego)... that was the best I've ever done. The legs; 30" thighs. Those are the legs that friends of mine called "freakish". The muscle of the quad grew slightly over the kneecap, which was weird looking... and likely helped with the season-ending injury that year.
I'm a different guy and a different rider now. Life is totally different now too. Wife and family (even have fish, a turtle and a dog). Training is something I do on a rare occasion and work takes the bulk of my time. Travel makes training seem impossible. Weekends belong to family, not endless hours on the road, on the track or in the gym. Oddly, life is better now than it was then. Sure, I'd love to win races again. Hell, even DO races again (I only raced three times all year in '06).
Life is a challenge and a never changing one at that. For as much as I wish I was still as fit as the me in the picture above, I wouldn't trade it for the me I am now.
Sundays make me think sometimes... strange, isn't it.