Why do we ride?
Today was the first time that I had a chance to ride two days in a row in quite some time. It was an amazing weekend filled with sunshine and pretty great weather for central Texas in July (sub 100F). Though I had a question pop up in my head today, why am I doing this? Why am I leaving the comforts of home and putting off the dishes that are in the sink? I have been unmotivated, in terms of getting miles and riding in general, most of the year. Between all the travel, coaching, my 9-5 company moving to a new location, and all the other things in life it has been hard to get as many miles as I would have liked to by now. To put it in perspective the last few years I have been holding about 4-5000 miles the last two years. So at this point I should be at about 2-2500 miles. This year has been quite a bit less to put it nicely. So I decided to reflect while I rode through Brushy Creek and this is what I came up with.
I started this journey in cycling about twelve years ago. There have been some amazing times and some not so great times on the bike. I have flown at high speeds and fallen in the parking lot like many of us who have been on a bike long enough. Though I always like to remember that I began doing this because it was bonding time with my parents, I wanted to compete in a sport that was fun and different, and I wanted to participate in a something that I could do into my older years. This sport like I said has brought joy and pain, though the joy that has ensued from riding has greatly outweighed the pain.
Today on the trail I saw many things happen that I had not seen in some time. Today I saw four different groups of dads riding with one or more of their children on one of the more difficult trails. These kids were under the age of ten and tearing up stuff left and right so kudos to them! I saw a few couples showing each other how to clear some tougher obstacles, a jump and a rock feature. Then I saw my knee smack into the dirt while my other knee hit my top tube. This is never fun though I popped back up wiped the dirt off and kept going. All of these events are things that we have encountered at one point or another in our cycling adventures. These are the things that keep bringing me out to the trails, onto the local group ride, and is an added benefit in doing a local charity ride or two throughout the year. I love seeing how cycling brings people together in more ways then one and the way that no matter what happens out their we push through pain and try new things.
The great news is that life is mellowing out for the first time in about ten months or so. I have decided to race next season so my personal training will go up. There are already two or three races that I have pinpointed for next year and a few bikepacking adventures that I want to go on. Cycling has always been a great point in my life so now I want to make it a point to get out and ride more. I want to get back to having fun as well as having structure. This is something I have always preached to my athletes, "Once it is no longer fun, you need to stop. Take a week off, heck take a month off if you need. Take a look at what the sport has done for you and the work that you have put to get to where you are. Are you happy with that, did this bring you joy before? What are you missing, what has changed, what do you think needs to happen?" Most are happy to have the break and come back to the sport, though some move onto something else that brings happiness.
My question to you all is why do you ride or run or swim or whatever it is that you do for fun, what sparks the joy for you to go out and participate? Leave a comment below or shoot an email over to be featured in my next blog post. There are some great things to come in the next few weeks so keep an eye out, links to come. As always make sure to Finish Strong!