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Home » Cycling » Don’t be Afraid (or Ashamed) of Who You Are… A Two-Wheeled Lesson on Life

Don’t be Afraid (or Ashamed) of Who You Are… A Two-Wheeled Lesson on Life

September 2017
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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.

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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.”

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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.

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10 Comments

  1. Paula says:

    Great life lesson!

  2. I hear ya! I don’t get paid to ride my bike, so I have no desire to give up too much of my life to be that little bit faster. I quite like that slice of chocolate brownie too. I’ll keep pushing for now though as I’m not quite fast enough for my liking.

    Almost “good enough” but not yet, hehehe! 🙂

    • bgddyjim says:

      It’s definitely worth the effort to get to “good enough”. I’m there and I love it. I think we all need to find our “good enough” first, great comment my friend. Thank you.

  3. Quan says:

    I’ve been having this conversation in my head a lot lately. What I’d have to give to get faster… and like tempocyclist, I’m still finding my “good enough”. Congrats on finding yours. 🙂

  4. Sandra says:

    If I have learned anything about cycling since I bought my first Bianchi Super Sport SS (steel with legit Campy components) in 1982, it’s that the older cyclists get, the more they realize that it’s the ride and the scenery and the breath of life that matters, not the speed. Some come to this realization in their late 40s, many in their 50s, stragglers in their 60s and 70s. There are always a few hold-outs who live and breathe speed, but that’s in their blood and that’s okay.

    I love cycling, I used to care about being fast–but i never lived in a place where anyone rode, much less together, much less competed for anything. Then I moved to New Mexico where I was too busy in graduate school than to use my bike for anything other than commuting.

    I bought a fat bike so I wouldn’t feel guilty about going slow, not trying to be faster, and I have been the happiest riding this year than any other year. Not just because I have a fat bike (that’s a major part of the reason), not just because I actually am active again after destroying my shoulder and having surgery, but because I am truly appreciating everything around me.

    I still love to do triathlons, and I really pushed myself these last two–but I never competed against anyone but myself! It was a game changer for me.

    Enjoy, Jim! You’ve earned it. And give that wife a hug every time you leave or come home–and appreciate her to the end of the moon and back. She is a GEM!

  5. I had you pegged as a Do B a long time ago.

  6. Sue Slaght says:

    No amount of fast is worth that….best line ever.

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