There are many reasons to ride. This isn't the first time I've tried to write about the reasons I do.
My recent, accidental, emphasis on road racing combined with the pending Dairyland Dare 300k has me thinking about the pull of racing a bike. At some point in endurance racing the finish begins to pull. You realize that you can and will finish. It's a sort of emotional epiphany. You've been riding along for hours without really thinking and then you REALIZE THAT. You become aware of your own ultimate awareness. That you've been pedaling along rhythmically with nothing on your mind but being. You've been "in the moment" and now you've received the gift of realizing it, enjoying it. My mind flips wildly from ecstacy to defeat and then I think about taking control back but never quite do. It's better just to continue on. In the moment.
On the road or in a criterium you get a burst of the same thing. It's just a hint, but you also didn't have to put in the same effort to get there. Approaching the final turns of a criterium or the final meters of a road race the pace goes up and it feels like there is nothing more left. Then I feel that same pull. This time there is not time to consider it and savor it, to realize it. Instead it shifts immediately into forgetting. The pain goes away, the thought only becomes the line and the pedaling. You get a few seconds of the ultra-endurance drug, but it's a very concentrated few seconds. Then you sit up and look around and know that you've shared that with the guy beside you.
It's all one and the same. I'm grateful for every time I get the opportunity and the strength to push through to that point.
Today I leave in an hour- it will be my last long ride prior to the Dairyland Dare. Plan to go explore for 6-8 hours with the OCR setup in a way that works for any road. Probably won't even pick a direction until I start riding. Hope you're planning a ride.
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