Metaphor

No matter what kind of ride you’re on — road or mountain, a couple hours or an all-day epic — there comes a point where you start looking forward to the finish. If you’ve metered out your energy properly, it’s usually toward the end of the ride.

The end of a ride has its own attraction. You’re looking forward to a rest. Your legs ache. You’ve added another memory to the pile. If you were out riding with friends, you might be looking forward to recounting the ride’s important moments.

Sure, you know you’re going to go on another ride tomorrow. But for now, it’s good to be about done.

Occasionally, though, someone screws things up.

You’re 85% of the way through a ride when they broach their brainstorm. “Hey, there’s a new section of singletrack we ought to add to the ride; it’ll only add half an hour,” they’ll say.

Or, “Who’s up for another climb?”

And suddenly, out of nowhere, your end-of-ride anticipation has been yanked out from under you. Suddenly, you’re not five minutes away from the trailhead. You’re not about to give your legs a rest. You’re not anywhere close to being done for the day.

You feel like you’ve been tricked.

You don’t have the legs for this. You didn’t ration out your energy, your water or your time to include this next section of the ride.

But you’ve got to do it anyway.

You can’t bail out of the ride — well, technically you could, but that’s not your way — but you aren’t energized for the climb. It feels more like an unwelcome chore than a challenge.

The good news is, once you start the new leg of the ride, you tend to recalibrate a bit. You find energy you didn’t know you have, you recognize that the new section of singletrack is really worth riding, you take some pride in your ability to adapt.

But of course, that doesn’t change the fact that — at the moment it’s sprung on you — getting blindsided with another big chunk of ride, right when you’re expecting a rest, sucks.

Big time.

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