Friday Group Ride #363

Friday Group Ride #363

Someone smart once told me not get caught up in the wreckage of the future, a warning not to invest too much in anxiety about events guaranteed to unfold differently than you imagine they will. Equally, it is probably unwise to think overly much on the good things to come. They, too, often become recognizable once you’re up close.

I try to remember these things when I think about future rides.

Right now, I am a middle-aged, middle-class, American man in the thick of familial domesticity. I coach two youth soccer teams. I work full-time. I am married to a woman I don’t just love, but also like. I have a few hobbies that don’t involve pedaling, and a few friends who don’t own chamois butter. When I think about riding, my dreams are proscribed by a reality that affords very little in the way of free time.

Reality can be a cruel mistress.

Just last night, in a Walter Mitty-esque reverie, I debated which big ride event I would take on at the end of summer. I chose one. My wife duly informed me that we’d be away on vacation the weekend of the ride. I chose another one, but didn’t register. I closed the laptop and cleaned the kitchen instead.

I know I won’t always be this busy, and just in case anything I’ve typed above rings of complaint, let me revise my tone. The thing is, my life is overbrimming with good things. I know that. I’m one of the lucky few who has more good in his life than he has time for. I’m wealthy in some way that’s not monetary. And I might be a little greedy too.

I dream of riding bikes in far-flung locales: Moab, Wales, Italy, Japan. I think about touring with my wife, maybe with some friends. What about 24 hour races? What about the Haute Route Rockies? What about Grinduro? There is so much, and I didn’t even mention France.

This week’s Group Ride asks, what does your cycling future look like? Maybe you’re retired, and you’re already there. Maybe you’re young and still living the dream. Or maybe you’re like me, in the frenetic middle, watching your kids grow, almost visibly, day-by-day, and wondering if you’ll still have the legs when the day finally comes.

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9 comments

  1. TomInAlbany

    Frenetic middle for me!

    I’m riding the Tour de Cure century and my wife’s training for the Boilermaker (15km run in Utica, NY in July). So, we use Saturday mornings for our training, taking turns monitoring the kids.

    I may take a ride up to my mother in law’s later this summer. It’s 130 miles away. If my wife comes to get me the next day, I’ve instigated a visit to her mother’s.

    I’ll bike commute to work as time allows.
    I’ll steal away at lunch time for a quick 45-55 minute ride, sometimes alone, sometimes not.

    I’ll ride with my family as much as they’re willing.

    And, I’ll enviously read every blog post from two retired co-workers that are 70% done with a cross-country trek from Jacksonville, FL to San Diego, CA

    Thinking any further than that is useless. Besides, someone wise once said, “We’re not promised the future.” So right now, I like to enjoy the present and plan a little…

  2. cash

    I ride to ride. And I can’t fathom the desire or commitment to race any more (especially here, where I live in northern Colorado where fast means something). I have a bit of a roll around my mid section (a few pounds worth, a few beers and a pizza) and hair on my legs.

    Back when I was young (before I became the 43 year old me), racing and speed and all that jazz mattered. Now, I see the commitment and dedication and think … damn, am I glad I don’t do that.

    Not to disparage those that do. I respect the effort and (occasionally) envy the results. But I’m happier. And healthier. And even fitter – now that I’m slower and fatter. And I ride much better bikes now then I ever did back then.

    My riding future is my present. I don’t dont do intervals today with the goal of speed in August. I donintervald today because it feels good. Or I don’t. And that feels good, too.

  3. Geoffrey

    I really like riding. I also really like jumping on a trampoline with my kids, and walking the dog with my wife. I try to frame everything from a longer term goal. As of now, this is it: I want to be a bombproof grandpa someday. If I have grandkids, I want them to be able to come flying at me, without fear of hurting me. This means some cardio, a strong back, and a joyous attitude.

    I do go for rides, but the ride vibe matters more than it used to. There are some rides locally which are all about being Hard. I do rides which have yummy food and a sense of collegiality. I will likely do the Nosco Ride every year, and one of the CCSD events in San Diego. They are challenging rides, and everyone smiles.

    Oh, and since we are all quoting, how about this: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34

  4. Phillip Cowan

    I think it was John Lennon who said “life is what happens to you while you,re busy making other plans”. Seems like all I do lately is commute. Not much time for longer rides. It would be easy to become contemptuous of the little rides while I’m planning bigger ones but I force myself to stay in the here and now and enjoy what I’ve got. I guess I won’t always be in the frenetic middle.

  5. Michael

    Wondering if you’ll still have the legs when the time finally comes – the time is close for me, and I DON’T have the legs! I just don’t have that same pizza-azz in the legs any more, but I still enjoy the riding as much as ever. Getting close to being able to ride whenever I want, but it seems like I’ll need all that riding just to be able to ride whenever I want! The body just doesn’t respond to training as quickly any more, but my brain responds to the riding and the beauty even more, if anything. I don’t regret any of the time spent with family and friends – fitness comes and goes, but family and friends don’t. Life is a pretty incredible ride!

  6. Bill Webster

    I turned 60 earlier this year. In preparation for that milestone I decided to ride Levi’s Gran Fondo for the third time. The miles are coming along, but I need (and have been) to spend more time on off the bike prep: weights and stretching. I’ve found that I don’t ride as fast or as far anymore, but I enjoy the miles nonetheless.

  7. Alan

    My big event was this last weekend, Iron Bicycle Classic. Race a steam train from Durango to Silverton, Colorado over 2 mountain passes on Saturday, then a mountain bike race THROUGH a brewery on Sunday.

    It was a blast.

    1. Alan

      Also, I came in last place. Damn life makes it hard to train, but at least I was good enough to finish.

  8. John E Murphy

    My cycling life, mirroring my off bike existence, has ebbed and blossomed over the past decade. About a year, coinciding with my daughter starting to drive and my son opting out of club soccer, I pushed cycling back up the priority list. I will never be more then a cat 3 wannabe for a variety of reasons – age, late to the sport, limited saddle time, etc – but I’m forever chasing those fleeting seconds on every ride where are moments, or even extended periods, of zen like feelings. I hope this never goes away – it is the main reason ride. It allows me to ride without fear or ego – this is precious and rare. Only the bike allows me to get there – I love there.

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