Why we ride

Yesterday I talked about a long training ride I took on Monday. I wanted to talk about a couple of my friends who commented on that ride. Their comments bothered me a little bit. Let me explain.

One of my friends said this: Don’t I feel like a turtle. …

That friend lives in Maryland. We got to know each other when I was living in Maryland working at the Naval Academy. Last year he asked me my opinion on a bike (seems that I have turned into a resource for my friends who don’t bike but are thinking about it). He was looking at a hybrid and wanted to start riding to get into shape. He got a bike and started riding regularly. Then he bought a Trek road bike. He continues to ride pretty regularly.

One of my other friends said this: “Holy crap, dude!

That friend lives in Pennsylvania and I met her when I started riding in the LiveStrong Philly a couple of years ago for Team Fatty. She is a runner (and could grind me into the pavement in shoes) and has started to ride more seriously last summer (she rode her first century ride last summer). Her goal is to ride 3 centuries this summer. She has a nice blog and did a writeup on her group ride this week. On the Book of Face she mentioned me and said that she was “way behind” on her miles. I know her, but part of me still sighed when I read that.

Look, there are lots and lots of reasons to ride a bike. My message is simple: Don’t loose sight of why YOU ride!

It’s supper easy to get caught up in he is faster, or she rides longer, and to forget why you are riding.

I do this too. I see the Strava records of my friends, or read the exploits of one Fat Cyclist. Sometimes that’s good. It helps to motivate, to make me work harder and push just a little bit more. But it can also be a problem.

When we start to think we are “slow” or “weak” or not “good” we forget why we are riding. When we compare we are in danger. We forget what is important. Getting on the bike and spinning the cranks. Going some place. Seeing things. Working towards a goal.

Here is a secret: There will always be someone who is faster than you are, or can go farther. Heck there were 757 people who were faster than me at Leadville last summer. I finished 758th. That’s not something to write home about.

But it is something to write home about. Because I am who I am and I accomplished MY goals.

Work to get to your goals, but be OK with where you are at. That actually makes me happy to see in my friends. I don’t care how far or how fast you ride. Just that you are accomplishing your goals.

See you on the trails or the road. I promise to drop my pace or pick it up as is appropriate so we can ride together for a while.

Author’s Note: This comment from yesterday came from another Friend of Fatty of mine: “Holy Shnikies!” Dude, nothing I said above applies to you. You got Squishy. You have an obligation 😀 .


8 thoughts on “Why we ride

  1. Definitely well said. It is way too easy to start comparing yourself to others and lose the fun and enjoyment of the ride! I’m slow, I ride short distances, but I have fun! 🙂

  2. Great entry, Doug! Just to clarify: my “holy crap, dude!” on your FB post was a comment of utter respect and admiration for that ride. I can’t even imagine cranking out 95 miles this early in the season. Not that I feel like I must, just that I totally respect those who have the ability to do so. It’s inspiring, whether my goal is to ride at a similar level or not (so totally not).

  3. Also: I *am* way behind on where I hoped to be on miles this spring. The only way to make it to three centuries without burning myself out is to build the miles progressively, and I’m about three weeks behind on the mileage goals I had set for myself.

  4. Don’t let it bother you! It was meant to be an observation and I guess a kind of KUDOS…I am riding because it’s fun and to stay in better shape then I was. It does give a little motivation to ride a little harder or go further, you still need goals in everything you do…I still feel like a turtle on days! Today Its a duck with all the rain:)

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