We all get into a rut. Week after week, on the same days, we do the same kind of ride (almost without conscience thought) and feel pretty good about the accomplishment of another solid . . . well, week. Some people love the social aspects of cycling and nothing more, no speed, no KOMs, no sprints. Some ride very hard, enjoying the solitude of cycling and being alone with their thoughts. Some riders want to look competitive but lack the drive to put in the saddle time, being about having a cool bike and a matching kit. But all of these people groups, my friend, is the beauty of cycling; there is a place for everyone, excluding those who want to look down on others who are not into their kind of cycling. If you have been into the sport long enough, you will see that birds of a feather spin together. It does not have to be that way though.
As a slight take off from my previous post, I have been in all of the groups . . . okay, not the matching kit and bike guy without any effort to ride. In the beginning, I was on my Wal-mart hybrid with a dry fit t-shirt and Dick’s cycling shorts (using baby powder for chamios cream [full disclosure]) for about a year when getting into the sport. I had absolutely no clue what I was doing but finding that kid again who loved to ride his bicycle. I was that guy who waved and said good morning to everyone I passed and got a response from just about everyone. I began to show up early for group rides at various bicycle shops and ride over to the “A Group” for maybe an introduction and admission of rookieness and ask for some tips. That did not work out too well either, so I went to the ol’ inter webs and researched and learned through trial and error. This is NOT to say I have arrived, by no means. I still enjoy learning from everyone and giving new things a try.
Now, for me, I thoroughly enjoy speed on flats and climbing. I get a thrill from honing my body, my bike, and my style to get an extra pop to my effort. It is strange, but I have learned to embrace the pain as getting better. I have no end in mind. I just want to be the best I can be, even though I am in my late 40s and will not be a champion of anything, except a local KOM that will be taken from me in less than two weeks, but then the chase is on again. I mix up the way I train and ride. I ride very comfortably with A Groups now, BUT I also very much enjoy riding with the other groups and having a good conversation about family and life. When I mix groups, it helps me to adjust my ride position and style and not get into a rut. It is a great way to have active rest days. It is also fun to pull a group for the majority of the time and get in some work that way too. Many days I train alone and just think, no music or podcasts. But no matter what, I still attempt to give a greeting to everyone I pass.
This post is not about how great I am, although one can argue that it is mainly about me, but that was NOT the point. I just wish that we, as cyclists, would not be so segregated. I was given solid advice after yesterday’s post and need to apply it more to my life. Making an effort to be nice can be infectious. It might not always be reciprocated, but it is the right thing to do. It will work more times than it will fail.