Overheard at the bike shop while my wife was getting her new cycling shoes dialed in, asked by a customer taking delivery of his new $600 hybrid:
“Where’s the kickstand”?
I tried so hard to stay out of it but the junior mechanic replied, “I don’t know”!
After he went into the back I explained to the poor old fella that they’re not cool on real bikes anymore. He had them put one on.
Time To Kick the Committee Into Gear: Why Work So Hard? (Hint: It’s Not My Ego, Though Go Ahead and Tell Yourself It Is)
It was chilly, sun shining brightly but there was a bite to the wind. I’m starting to feel better after my two-day cold (only one day off the bike) but I’m still a little tired – run-down is a better word methinks. Still, with snow and ice on the ground, nobody showed up to the club ride on Tuesday and I was done in anyway. Came down with the bug on Monday so I didn’t ride at all, I slept… The preceding three days I rode with Mrs. Bgddy so they were slow, easy days. In other words it had been almost a full week since I really pushed myself on a ride. This shouldn’t be too big a deal, especially for “someone like me”, right? Who can ride really fast and is internally motivated to kick ass… After all, it’s in my jeans [yes, I know, genes…that’s a point]! People like me have it easy, because we’re naturals. We don’t have to work as hard as everyone else – it is, after all, unfair right? Yeah, read on.
I could feel my energy slipping as the afternoon wore on and by the time I was headed home I was not in a good mental place. I had been looking forward to a hard effort ride all day long, until the drive home. By the time I pulled into the driveway I was lobbying to get a majority of the melon committee to agree just to get out the door and clipped in. I was certain we, the committee and I, were going to take it easy if I didn’t just curl up on the couch. After all, I was still “technically” sick…
I readied the Venge as I was still trying to quell what was growing to the status of a coup within the committee. Pumped up the tires, got my water situated and layered up. A couple of malcontents in the committee were calling for my impeachment, citing “too tired to pedal” as the grounds. They added fuel to the fire and I could sense another couple of committee member’s allegiance shifting as I ratcheted the straps down on my shoes.
Fortunately I am not as afraid to breathe life to one personal truth: When it comes to my melon committee, I’m a dictator. This ain’t a democracy – what Big Daddy says, ultimately goes. There is one problem though: The more I listen to the committee when I’m down, when I’m tired, after I’ve taken it easy for more than a couple of days in a row, the harder I have to fight to regain control over the narrative. The tougher it is to get back…
I clipped in and rolled out. I pedaled easy for all of 100 feet and that all to familiar smile slowly stretched across my face. All of the negative punks on the committee sat down, dejected. With a tailwind I was up to 23/24 mph before I hit the 1/4 mile mark. I pushed harder. I let the committee know that I was instituting a goal: Go as hard as I could to completely wipe myself out before I hit the last four miles of my 16 mile ride – and three of those were directly into that biting wind. This meant I’d still have to work to get home.
In the crosswind I dropped it down to 21/22, down a tiny hill and then back up… I picked the pace up. It was time to punish the whining, seditious bastards in the committee. I was easily up to 25 with the wind at my back again. Leading up to another hill, upshift – pick up the cadence, powerful round pedal strokes. No time for mashing. At the midway point on the hill I downshifted and kept my cadence.
I could feel my muscles firing, pulling my tendons, in the proper succession: Quad, hammy, glute, quad hammy, glute. Time to give the committee something to really bitch about. As I crested the hill I upshifted and put the hammer down. The next stop sign is one that requires a stop – great, I could catch my breath, pedal harder. Busy road and perpendicular traffic does not stop. For once, there was no traffic at least a half-mile in either direction – so I shot right through it. North of 27 mph. I was grinning again. I thought, F- you, committee…
Ten miles in out if sixteen – I gave it every single ounce of energy I had left in my cold-weakened state. I was smoked. Exactly what I wanted. I stopped by the bike shop to say hi to the boys and was on my way. I pushed for another two miles and dialed it back. I pedaled back a little easier, the respite deserved… Though I did have to remember, I am still sick. It’s okay if I was a bit tired.
I can feel the effort in my legs. Can feel the workout in my lungs. I slept like a rock. My daughters were to bed at 8. I was out by 8:10.
So, getting around to the big picture… WHY? Why push? I have everything going on right now, I’m busy as I’ve ever been in my life, the weather is crap, I’m on the back side of a little cold and I’m in really good shape for this early in the season, my few extra pounds from the winter are almost shed and I’ve been riding hard for almost three years now, getting faster and stronger. Why not take a spring and summer off to work solely with my wife? Why not slow it down a bit, after all, who am I trying to impress!?
When I went for that 44 miler with my wife on Saturday, while we had a great time, for the most part talking and getting our miles in together and while that ride was exceptionally easy for me, my wife struggled mightily. I know that feeling and fought through it so many times I can’t even take a guess at how many – it was a lot. I don’t care about the stereotypical ego things (or other people’s projections, in other words). I don’t care about being one of the horses in the group of guys I ride with (though that’s a nice byproduct).
The why is a simple concept: You can pay me now or pay me more later but you will pay. If you missed my post about living debt-free the other day, paying interest really pisses me off. If I get behind on my payments (hard, fitness-building workouts) I will have to work a lot harder to make the debt up farther down the road. Not only will I have to put in the extra work to get my speed back, I’ll have to re-fight the melon committee to get them in line again. That’s paying double the interest. Nope, I’ll pay up now.
Thank you sir, may I have another?
Yes I may.