It would be very difficult for me to do anything on a bicycle that would impress you. There are a few reasons for that. First, I’m not “talented,” i.e. I was not blessed with a high VO2 max, high lactate threshold, or the deepest reserves of pig-headed forbearance. Second, I’m like you. I have a job. I have kids. My time is hyper-limited. Finally, there are a lot of extraordinary people with vast reserves of time already out doing human-boundaries expanding riding. I find it mildly discouraging.
I am a mature adult (sort of). I shouldn’t be discouraged by the achievements of other people. I should be inspired by them and grateful for their example. And I am, sometimes.
But there other times when I feel we live in an exploit-driven culture, a place where, unless you’ve done the most, you haven’t done enough, a place that only really values a ride if it was the biggest, bestest thing anyone’s done.
Strava, which many love as a training tool, drives this too, right? It pushes us to go faster, which is mostly a good thing, but it also lets us know when we don’t measure up. All that data cuts both ways, doesn’t it?
I have friends who have raced across the US. I have a friend who set the hour record for 45-49 year-olds. I am hanging out with the wrong people. Again, it’s not for me to compare. I don’t have to do the things they do, but man, they make my hard efforts look the buzzing of a moth around the bright glow of their own.
This week’s Group Ride asks, are we too focused on exploits? Are we too obsessed with getting faster, going farther, being tougher, and too out of touch with just pedaling the bike for fun? Which way does all this achievement cut for you?