One of my mentors said, “We can talk a lot about why you’re not doing what you should be doing, but in the end, you don’t want to do it, so you won’t.” It hit me pretty hard, this idea that my horizons might be fixed, and not only that they are fixed, but the limits are self-imposed, a product of my own non-malleable personality.
I wanted to push back against this idea, but when I examined my behavior, not isolated moments, but as a whole, I had to concede that doing things I don’t like doing isn’t something I do, mostly. It is possible, I think, to sustain short periods of action that push outside one’s “comfort zone,” but it is not realistic to think I will radically alter my type.
On the bike that means I am never going to be good trainer, although I will occasionally slap together some training to prepare for a one-off event. I can sometimes content myself in a paceline on a road ride in order to spend time with people I like, but mostly I prefer to freestyle my rides, going out with one or two people, taking a pretty inefficient and unstructured approach to covering a route.
I’d like to think I’m a good climber. I am compact and certainly better suited to it than going fast in the flats, but more accurately, I’m a mediocre cyclist. In my head, I want to do hill repeats and ride that line somewhere between pink and red as I crest one climb after the next. I’m just not that ambitious though. I’m not a good climber.
Next weekend I ride this, which is daunting in a few ways. First and foremost, it’s spring here in Southern New England, so the idea of heading north to revisit winter (and mud season) gives me the shivers. It seemed like a good idea when I signed up. Now it just seems like another opportunity to get into my “discomfort zone.” This is, I suppose, a good thing, maybe the only way to push back against type. Anyway, I’ll try it.
This week’s Group Ride asks, where is your discomfort zone? What are the things you wish you were suited to but aren’t? Do you believe you can change? Or do you just become more yourself the longer and longer and longer you ride?