• Friday Group Ride #210

Friday Group Ride #210

Like a sprinter on a long mountain stage, I’ve missed the cut off, Friday slipping into Saturday with a mix of work commitments, youth hockey and reset passwords. Collectively they were my Ventoux, my Alpe d’Huez, my Gavia, and I, out of shape for anything longer than 100m of full tilt chaos, let go the flickering end of the peloton and resigned myself to slinking across the line later. Welcome, my friends, to the (de facto) Saturday Group Ride.

It’s funny really, the way we see ourselves and the ways we actually are.

In my mind, I am a climber. I climb well. This may or may not be true. But, when I see myself in mid-summer form, the vision is of working my way up a long, slithering steep, companions slowly dropping away behind me. It’s a little narcissistic, a little romantic and a little delusional.

It’s not that I’m not a good climber. I guess I’m alright. It’s more that this is some sort of idealized self, a rider I know I can be, even if I never actually get there, because life presents the sort of obstacles that turn Friday into Saturday, because I’m not just a cyclist. I’m an employee, and a dad, and even occasionally a husband.

Perhaps my wife is the Gavia, immense in presence and beautiful to stare at, formidable, comically difficult to get over sometimes.

Here is the irony maybe. We are hell bent on destinations, finish lines. The fixed vision of myself as a great climber is a result I want to achieve. But the results are formed by the obstacles. There is no great climber without great climbs, no great lives without obstacles. I will complain about standing in another dimly lit hockey rink, slowly freezing, but these are the things that make me a father, that earn me my fatherhood.

This week’s Group Ride, delayed in part by the obstacles of growing into our new design, is about the things that stand in the way of cycling. What are your obstacles? We talk so much about struggling to find the time to ride, about trying to find the right balance between life’s commitments and escapades on the bike. What’s in your way? And are you ok with it? I have the keen sense that a job you don’t like is an obstacle you resent, whereas family time is an obstacle that enhances the net result, whatever that ends up being.

Image: Gavia Pass – Wikimedia

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9 comments

  1. Timojhen

    Probably the obstacle I see most frequently is myself. Those Saturday mornings where chilling and reading seem more attractive than hurrying to make the group ride departure time. Those times where I think I should want to ride, but I’m actually more interested in doing something else.

    Inertia can be a powerful force.

    On the up side, I’ve never regretted leaving to ride, and I’ve learned how to strike a balance which seems to work for me…. Weekly/monthly goals, scheduling rides, commuting.

    May be that balance is still my fundamental struggle.

  2. Eto

    I do not like the feeling that I have to ask permission from my responsibilities to go out on a ride.
    In a life busy with work, family and other personal interests, unless I have a scheduled ride (I have assumed permission) it is difficult to get out with any regularity. The times my wife suggests to go ride works well too.

  3. Ransom

    It’s a well-timed question for me. I could write (too much; again) about how many of my obstacles are facets of myself, but instead I will thank you for the reminder to go ride and see if I can put up some sheetrock in the garage as well.

    As my girlfriend reminded me earlier today, I will try to do today with an emphasis on what I want to have done when I reach the end of it, or look back from tomorrow, and not fall prey as much as usual to the hammock, the gin and tonic, the leisurely lunch, and the other things which make up the easiest escapes.

    Dangit, I *still* wrote too much. I’m out the door now. Really.

  4. Dean

    I have rearranged my life to allow everyday rides. The trick is to take the time out of the workday. Then, magically, the fitness and home life are greatly enhanced.

  5. Pat O'Brien

    I have been retired for ten years, yet everyday is filled with activity, often cycling, and the evening of the day comes too quickly. I’m sure you have heard the same from retired people you know who are active. They say, “when did I find time to work?” As you age, time accelerates. Misplaced priorities, wind and pollen, and the occasional injury are my obstacles. I am constantly trying to find balance and make riding an important part of the time I have.

  6. Hoshie99

    I had a solid return to form last year and had to balance work, dad duties and the like. I did 9 cyclocross races and organized a road / gravel ride for the crew as well so it was a great season.

    This year I am in process of starting a business so my personal time portfolio is getting rebalanced. I’ll ride when I can but form will have to wait in line behind a few things.

  7. Duncan

    Fatherly/husbandry guilt is a good obstacle for me, though on Saturday mornings through winter and Sunday mornings through summer I usually manage to get over it. Riding more than once per week is tricky though, and that requires early (very) mornings or late nights, usually on the turbo…Sufferfest helps there…

  8. Cyril

    My cushy 7:00-3:30 Monday through Friday job just demanded overtime and Saturdays.
    It was a good run. Realize I had it made for a cycling life.

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