Friday Group Ride #242

Friday Group Ride #242

Can we all just agree that motivation is priceless? I have been riding bikes my whole life, and the motivation to ride hard or far or even just continuously has sometimes been stronger than others. The alchemical recipe that produces the drive to ride consists of momentum, fun, fitness, weather, inspiration, friends, opportunity and possibly some other things I’m overlooking. Mysteriously, sometimes when I have both opportunity and fitness in spades, I am still woefully short of the motivation to capitalize.

I don’t understand it.

But I’m in a purple patch now. The hand injury that ruined my end-of-summer riding plans let me back on the bike in time to build some Fall fitness, and having missed out on some of my favorite rides and events, I feel I owe it to myself to keep rolling through the winter. Of late, I am doing only mixed-terrain rides, road-to-trail-to-road-to-trail, and finding my motivation in seeing the ponds ice over. It’s in the studded 40mm tires hanging in my garage that I see carving through 6 inches of snow in my mind’s eye.

FGR242_2A power line cut almost always harbors a hard-scrabble trail. Even driving around, I have my head on a swivel, looking for wood-bound ingress, like a secret door in a bookcase that leads to a magical land where the animals talk and I can fly.

A friend with a hair-brained idea to ride somewhere I haven’t ridden before, that I’m not sure can be ridden to, at night, possibly also involving a train trip or a donut shop.

These are the sorts of things motivating me to ride and ride and ride right now, and sometimes, even when an idea seems bad, or I’m not sure I’ll have the time, I’ll force myself out the door anyway, because I know this stuff is fleeting. The snow will be deep soon, and it will take more to get me out the door.

This week’s Group Ride asks, what motivates you? Are you chasing the bike right now, or lying low? Is your motivation consistent or up and down like a Duncan Imperial?

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  1. ScottyCycles62

    I am motivated to keep my disintegrating vertebra at bay. Cycling masks the pain and according to the Spine Doc has kept me out of the operating room so far. I am also motivated by the thought of achieving flow state on a long ride.

  2. Mark Young

    Starting to chase, but the bike keeps inching away.

    We are wanting to ride Solvang in March so my wife can get her first real century in. So despite the newly arrived rain storms here in Central CA, we will be riding inside and outside to get ready.

  3. Aar

    My knee was scoped about 2 months ago and I’m working through some setbacks. I should be chomping at the bit to ride as much as possible but I’m not. The only logical reason I can come up with is the amount of pain I experienced on the bike this summer and not wanting to ruin the surgery by coming back too soon.

  4. michael

    I know what you mean – motivation does go up and down. I run a lot too, and last autumn, I was training for a hard trail-running race, my favorite of the season, when I realized I was not having fun any more. I switched to riding trails and spent months waking up ready to go (and we had so little snow last year that I could ride trails much of the winter). This year, I have had too much travel and am living in a new country with incredible road riding (Ireland), so the combination has meant not having any problems with motivation to get out and ride, just problems finding the moments to do so.

  5. Pat O'Brien

    For me riding must be fun and in balance with the rest of my life. If it is, motivation ceases to be a concern. However, I have been retired for a few years and miss the extra fitness and base miles of riding to work.

  6. Steve Barner

    I was thinking the other day of how I am starting to anticipate the day’s ride more with dread than delight. It’s the horribly heavy studded tires on the slow bike, the seemingly eternal headwind, the multiple layers of restrictive clothing, the heavy winter cycling boots, the lobster gloves, and still the knowledge that my fingers and toes were going to hurt towards the end of my 18-mile commute. But, cerebrally, I know that I will enjoy the ride to which I am not looking forward, and I always prove myself right. Whether it be looking back over my shoulder yesterday to see the salmon dawn sky appearing over the mountain, or the driving snow squall that stung my face so bad the day before, it’s all good. But the feeling I had when passing a line of cars waiting their turn to embarrass their owners as their engines over-reved and tires spun smoking while they crawled up French Hill–priceless!

    1. Andrew

      Steve wrote my comment. Rode yesterday in subfreezing weather, brutal headwind, layers on layers, studded tires, wondering to myself whether I really was having fun…better than the trainer? I guess. Motivation I guess is that no one else was out, so I’m gonna kick their ass in the spring.

  7. John Kopp

    My main motivation now is exercise to avoid blood pressure medication. I could use a little more incentive, though.

    My original motivation was my group leader at work who commuted to work by bike, and put in 10,000 miles a year on his bikes. This in Minnesota. I tried to match him, but best I could do was 7,000 miles. I had joined a bike club, which helped. Some of the group were motivated to train for the day when gasoline would run out, and bicycles would be the main transportation. I think we are getting close! From what I remember from my mineral economics course some 40 years ago.

  8. Ron

    Yep, winter can sap motivation. I also recently started a full-time job, after being in grad school and working part-time. Yikes, I forgot how much of your life is chewed up by a 9-5. I can’t complain because I like the job and it should provide sound financial footing. I try to fit in a pre-work ride on Monday and Friday and one long road ride on Sunday. But other than that, I’m just commuting 40 minutes each way, each day by bike. That is great, because I do simply love to ride.

    But, the motivation for the 4 or 6 hour rides, the fast group rides…just not there right now. Yesterday (Sunday) is a perfect example. House work and chores most of the day with my wife, cleaned and worked on some of my bikes, walked to dogs in the woods, then dark by 17:00. I kind of wanted to ride, but I also enjoyed the day out of saddle, spending time with my wife, and walking my dogs.

    I know you folks with kids are probably going to laugh at all the free time I have, but wow, I’m seeing how hard it is to be a good cyclist with a full-time job. Especially with short amounts of light. I think a 3 hour ride might break me, with the abysmal form I’m in.

    But, a job and money are nice. And commuting on a dedicated bike path is as well. And YES, off-road or cx riding in the winter is an awesome changeup to road riding. It reminds me that I love cycling, while slogging out the KMs on the road can get tedious sometimes. Oh, and not to mention the reckless cagers.

  9. Robert

    I stopped riding motocross in 84′ and started cycling the same year. Motivation has never been a problem regarding getting on the bicycle. I’m very lucky to have found cycling. I can honestly say i never found cycling a “workout”. Cussing, bonking, etc and get ready to do again tomorrow. I love getting prepped and heading out the door. I don’t worry about miles or grams (well not too much). Here in Northern Michigan the only thing that stops me is ice and snow on the roads (and if it gets lower 20’s). As far as the wind goes, #$%@ the wind. I find the bad weather an excuse to give my heart a rest. A little winter cross country running or skying will take care of the rest. You know how it goes…feel bad when you leave and have a great ride. Feel like superman and it doesn’t go so well. At 55 I still have a couple magical days a year where I could go on forever and when I get back I feel sad it’s over.

  10. gregorio

    Chasing…definitely chasing. I had a novel idea when the cold and ice of Northern MN drove me indoors. Instead of getting fat, how bout trying to carry some form through the winter? Instead of eating and thinking about training, why couldn’t I train and think about how I eat? Adding a trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway in the spring to my ride schedule provided enough motivation [er, fear of embarrassing myself] to get me to put together my winter training schedule. It also helps that my riding buddies have taken on races or events that they’re equally scared to suck at. Self preservation is a wonderful motivator, and so I’m grinding away on the cycleops, spinning on the rollers, and working the strength routine. What keeps me going is the possibility of hitting the road in late March ready to ride centuries.

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