“Many are stubborn in pursuit of the path they have chosen. Few in pursuit of the goal.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Say you’re a cyclist and you have no idea what people imagine. There’s a good chance it’s skinny tires, lycra and doping. Say you’re a mountain biker and they may think of dirt, baggies, and trails that look more like a DH World Cup version of Dante’s descent into hell (i.e. Red Bull Rampage). There’s an enormous variety in our sport. Most outsiders don’t understand it, and I wonder just how much exploration many of us have had into the various elements of cycling.
I ride to fulfill more than one need. I love the sense of adventure and exploration. I love the challenge of pushing myself on a hard climb or to see how fast or how far I can go. Biking offers the opportunity for a variety of significant challenges and different ways to test ourselves and learn “can I do this?” I love the roller coaster thrill of carving a banked turn and as I’ve increased both my skill and comfort level I’m increasingly loving spending time with my tires in the air.
I have never ever wanted to “beat” someone else. When I race the other people merely help me push myself harder. I’m glad that I might be able to offer that same feeling for some of them. I’ve often passed many people and I’ve been passed by many others. I don’t care if they’re men, women 20 years older or 14, I’m glad to see people out on bikes loving what they’re doing. The Surly folks had it right in their blog:
“Hey, tattooed and pierced long shorts wearin flat brim hat red bull drinkin white Oakley sportin rad person on your full suspension big hit bike – nice work out there.
Hey, little round glasses pocket protector collared shirt skid lid rear view mirror sandal wearing schwalbe marathon running pletscher two-leg kickstand tourist – good job.
Hey, shaved leg skinny as hell super duper tan line heart rate monitor checking power tap train in the basement all winter super loud lycra kit million dollar wheels racer – keep it up.”
We’re blessed that there are so many different events in different locations that we can be choosy. Shorter, longer, faster, stages, laps, buff, gnarley – it’s all out there. I don’t personally do many XC style or length events, because I want a longer day. The pace is also typically very different. Many endurance ultra distance events (50+ miles) are getting faster and faster and some courses have very little to offer in terms of quality miles.
The year I did DK200 as a big goal, I found I missed mountain biking, and to a degree I missed doing some formal races. The following year the pendulum swung the other way – it was nearly all endurance MTB and nearly all formal racing. This year was all enduro. I learned a ton and had a lot of fun, but missed the adventure of long solo days in the saddle. I missed the endurance experience. I did however get to do a stage race, and loved it!
In 2015 I’ll be looking for balance. There will be long endurance events, there will be some park days and hopefully a little enduro. There will be a good mix of grassroots events from the Southwest Endurance Series and formal paid races. Exploring new areas, and revisiting old ones. Hope to see you out there. The evolving 2015 race list is here.