For years i’ve been obsessed with getting faster than i was the year before. Pushing myself. Looking for bigger climbs. Longer rides. Intervals. Sprints. on and on….
Riding became about meeting my training goals.
In the midst of all that riding bikes just stopped being any fun at all. My most common thought mid-ride was, “This sucks,” or “Why do i do this?”
That’s when i just accepted the facts: i’m never going to really be competitive. i’m creeping into my mid-40s, i have a small child to take care of, i have other hobbies, and i like food too much to maintain anything even remotely close to “cycling-weight”. So i stopped training! i stopped making every ride a piece of the plan to get faster. i just started riding my bike again! It was amazing: Trans-formative! i spent a year or so getting progressively slower as i embraced letting go of the need for 2-wheeled speed!
Riding bikes is fun for me, painful fun – but fun! i’d lost sight of that. i started stopping to take in the views. i stopped pedaling so hard on climbs that i’d get the “fat-kid-wheeze” and just started pacing myself. i started getting dropped more. i stopped setting a do-or-die weekly mileage goal. i started to love being on a bike again!
Fact is being fast costs quite a bit (and just to be transparent with you: riding a bike is fun, riding a bike fast is even more fun) and i’m just not willing to pay those costs any longer. i want to spend time with my family, i want to play D&D with my friends, i want to fly RC planes… i want to do other things. To be exceptional at a thing (which i’ve never been “exceptional” at cycling but i do know people who really are) that thing has to be your primary focus. i’m just not willing to focus that much on it any longer, call it cycling-ADD.
In the past year i’ve added some weekly goals back to my routine, but i’m not so hard on myself when i miss those goals. They are also more reasonable. i still love to climb mountains on a bike and it’s still my number one mental health activity. i’m still riding, still improving, and still setting PRs. BUT: those PRs are bonuses now, not goals for me.