I had to fire four of my guys the other day, leaving me woefully shorthanded. Today I had two peace officers in my office who were there to make sure that those guys returned the last of my tools. In the meantime I had a ton of work to get done… And I got about four hours of sleep last night.
I arrived home to my spectacular wife who, well… She’s just awesome. We talked things through and then it was time to fix my head:
Cycling, for me, is the cure for “those days”.
At the club ride the other day, we were headlong into a brute of a headwind when Greg, a mere Cat 3 FOG (friend of the gang), rolled up, turned 20 meters ahead of us and took the lead. Forty seconds later there was a gap… He was throwing down a hundy (100 rpm cadence) and pulling away – sitting up, on the tops (hands on the bar tops, the least aerodynamic position on the bike). Naturally, we normal folk were all in the drops, lamenting the fact that we hadn’t stayed home as the vast majority of the group had.
If you’ve ridden a bike and seen footage of a race, you’ve probably wondered, “Meh, how hard could it be?”
My wife is a 16 mph pacer, a mile and a half under my recovery ride pace. I can do to her what Greg does to my friends and I. Effortless, BAM I’m on the gas and pulling away, leaving my wife huffing and puffing to wonder, “WTF”…
Now, I’m assuming a Cat 2 can pull away from my buddy Greg like he does me and I do my wife. Wait, that doesn’t sound too good. I digress. A Cat 1 can do that to a Cat 2 and a Tour Pro can do that to a Cat 1. See where I’m going with that? I love hearing that the Tour de France’s average pace is 26 mph – it makes me think, “Hey, I’m not that far off” – or it used to. Then again… Oh yes I am.
I suppose my point, if there must be one as I ponder my humility as it was laid in my lap a few nights ago, is this: My friends and fellow cyclists, ride your ride. Wait up when you can or if you choose, put the hammer down as you please. Love your bike and ride it, as friend and elder statesman cyclist says, like you mean it but know that if, for any reason, we find it too difficult to keep up, we are not are not a failure. Failure, while only a temporary malady of the mind, is reserved for those who choose excuses or to stay home. Hold your head high, except in a headwind. In that case, put your head down and grit your teeth and give it your best. Don’t accept your limitations but don’t expect to change them overnight either. Don’t sabotage your awesomeness then look for others to blame. Ride your ride and be happy.
Finally, be an ambassador for the sport. Always.