Is it a coincidence that the English word love and the French word velo use the same letters? I think not.
When I was in high school playing football, it was always in the worst time whenever my coach would say, “You got to love it, boys!” It was the middle of the summer, most kids were sleeping in or lying around the house, but not the football team. We had two-a-day practices in 100 degree heat. The season was so far away. The stands were empty. Tired and exhausted, our coach was still screaming, “You got to love it, boys!” It was all about the sacrifice. If we didn’t love it, we surely wouldn’t be out there in the heat. Many would only make it a few days and quit. I use to laugh and shake my head at them. Everyone loves to be a player on game day, but no one wants to pay the price to get there.
I look back at those days and relate them to my endeavors today. I love to ride. I ride in the cold, the heat, the rain, the wind, and sometimes when it is actually pleasant. I get the fact that some only ride for the social aspects of it or to show off who has the most expensive toys, but I care less about that stuff. Put me in a group or by myself, it doesn’t matter. I just love the freedom of riding my bike. I find it curious that during this time of year the bike paths and roadways are pretty much barren of riders. No one wants to put in the time or truly embrace the sport. Then at the start of the cycling season, most group rides consist of people wanting to ease into things, claiming that it is too early to ride hard. I shake my head.
Now, this time of year, when the trees are bare and the wind bites hard, I surely wouldn’t be out in it if I didn’t love it. More than once, I have been cold, snotting on myself, squinting at the wind, climbing a steep grade, and I hear my coach yelling, “You got to love it!” Well, I do, Coach. I always have and more than likely I always will.