Whether it's the closure of a team, the non-renewal of a contract, or injury, when retirement calls for a professional cyclist, it can often be on someone else's terms.
In this video, Chris Opie, British ex-pro who had raced competitively since childhood, reveals how his retirement left a feeling of numbness in his life.
"There weren't these huge targets each year to look forward to, and I think that was really difficult," he explains. "Because it wasn't quite on my terms, there were all these lingering ambitions and targets that I hadn't quite fulfilled that were cut short, and I found that quite hard to deal with for quite a long time."
But with the removal of the structured training often comes a wider appreciation for cycling as a sport and as a hobby, as Opie explains.
"I got to discover my love for e-bikes, for cross country mountain bikes, for the gravel bike, and fall in love again with my road bike," he continued.
Over recent years, a number of ex pro cyclists have turned to gravel racing. Ted King, Ian Boswell and Laurens Ten Dam are just three high profile retirees who now race in the North American gravel scene, for example, but for Opie, enjoyment and variety are the key important factors.
Much of that variety comes in the form of the new Lapierre Crosshill, a bike that has broadened Opie's horizons in both a figurative and literal sense. Not only is he now able to appreciate the fun and freedom of cycling, he can do so in a larger playground.
"Over recent weeks, that's the bike I've spent the most amount of time on," he confirmed. "I've been using it for everything," he later adds, before explaining how it can be used as a commuter, a road bike, and how it's competent on all terrain.
"Most importantly, it's just the most fun I've had on the bike in a long time."
Talking through his latest goals, Opie reveals he has two. The first: "it has to be fun," stating that he believes the performance and everything else will follow. And the second is to find, enter, and complete as many different types of events as possible, because in Opie's words: "That's what cycling is about: Experiences."
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