When it comes to cycling, I’m a B guy. I am a B guy because I don’t want to work hard enough to be an A guy (though it should be clarified, our A Group is ridiculously fast – 24 mph average on open roads). I am more than content with 20-22 mph, which places me in the B Group. This is who I am and I’m normally content with that.
The other day I was hanging on with two of the A guys for the bunch sprint at the finish of our Tuesday night ride. I wrote about the experience on Wednesday. Now, I am one of the best B sprinters, there’s no doubt, but one of the A guys left me in the dust and crossed the line first by several bike lengths that night. All I could do was watch him pull away. As I wrote, “that’s the difference between an A and a B guy, right there”.
Most people would take that experience and turn it into a reason to revamp the training plan, to lose another five pounds, to eat better and work harder…. only to fall flat after a few weeks, and all based on getting beat by someone who happens to be a little stronger pedaling a bike.
I could do that to myself, but I won’t because I know something special: I don’t want to give up what that other guy has to in order to ride as fast as he does. In the end, it all comes down to watts and “want to”. Being faster or stronger won’t mean a thing when it comes to riding with my friends. I’m already strong enough and fast enough to do more than my share for the group. I’m healthy and my weight is under excellent control. More important, I’m happy.
While the pursuit of better makes a great postcard, when it comes to cycling I’ve found something that I can call “good enough”. I have no need to go any further or faster. I am good enough for government work, as I like to say.
I recently had a friend from the A gang say to me, “I just rode a hundred miles and I didn’t enjoy one of them.”
That won’t be me. No amount of “fast” is worth that at my age. That same day I rode a hundred miles and I enjoyed all but five of them. That isn’t to say I wasn’t working hard, we still turned in a sub-five hour hundred miles, but my tongue wasn’t dangling down by my spokes either.
In terms of cycling, speed, and where I want to be in that mix, perspective is everything.
Such is life. I can’t compare my totality, everything I “have” and everything I am, to someone else’s shiny exterior. A friend of mine may have a nicer house, better vehicles, and a boat… but I also have to look at what he gives up to have all of that.
If I’m not willing to give up what he does, well then it’s best to be content with what I’ve got. I am.