Tuesday, 7 May 2013
Riot Goes Deep...And Then More
So our friends at Bicycle Dreams (Bicycle Dreams is a movie about the Race Across America; if you haven't seen it you should, it is awesome!), have a facebook page titled 'Why I Ride'. On this page, people write in to detail the various reasons they ride/race a bike. So, I figured, might as well throw in my two cents in my own blog. So hold on, you may get a glimpse of a side of Riot you haven't seen before (except for Lois...she's seen it all)...hope you didn't take that in a dirty way (actually, I'm OK with it if you did).
So, first I ride for fun, but of course, that goes without saying (there are not too many fun things that I do that are not for fun). Of course I also ride for the exercise which should be obvious. I race because I love to compete. And the racing gives me goals to achieve and motivates me to get better at this sport. In fact, for me, it is great to have a sport that I can work to get better at, rather than work to try to stay as good as I used to be. Now all of these are obvious, and somewhat mundane reasons for participating in this sport. But it goes deeper than that even.
Five years ago, when I was introduced to this sport, I threw my leg over my bike and the first thing that hit me was the flood of memories of being a kid (the second thing that hit me was the trail ...warning; don't dream and mountain bike). When I was a kid, my bike got me everywhere...whether it was an old second hand 10 speed, or a banana seat single speed coaster brake. Then 35 years ago I got my drivers license, and my bike disappeared, put aside and forgotten. And so many adults, who are being re-introduced to cycling, will tell you how much it reminds them of being a kid; a reminder of a time of fewer worries, of freedom...a time where life was still being discovered rather than tolerated. And this is also true for me...but there is even more to it.
During an intense ride, or during the latter stages of a race, when I have pushed my body to its limits and beyond; when there isn't anything left, but I find myself still reaching deep to squeeze out any remaining molecule of energy because I have to in order to achieve the goal...I hit a point of 'something beyond' (I know it sounds weird and out there, but hey, that's how it is!). While my body is doing everything it can to keep my bike upright and moving, I can feel my soul awaken...and remember. The feeling of the bike sweeping over the trail reminds me of what it is to fly...a spirit, zooming on the winds of heaven...freedom...joy...released from the shite of everyday life. It may only last less than a fleeting second, and it ends with a wash of emotion, but it is intense...a high like nothing you can get from a drink or pill; a way to touch creation.
So, is mountain biking fun? Is it exercise? A road to fitness? An opportunity to compete and progress? Yup...all of these...and that much more...the stuff dreams are made of. Either that or I am very drunk right now (which is always possible).
OK...sorry about all the deep, metaphysical stuff; but it's true, so don't be grumpy...
OK...I forgot how much you prefer the juvenile humour (OK, it's me who prefers it).
So, let's get on a somewhat lighter note, the weather has been great for almost two weeks...which has meant great opportunities to get out and ride/train...so I have been. Also, I have incorporated the Tuesday night race series at Albion Hills into my training schedule, but will switch that to the Tuesday night race series at Kelso when the Kelso series starts (Albion is an hour + drive in good traffic, Kelso is 15 minutes). These races are short, but intense and competitive and a great motivation and opportunity to get an intense training session in midweek...plus they are fun, and a social gathering for the familiar faces we see at the weekend races.
The first big race of the season is coming up this Saturday May 11th. It is the Spring 8 Hour Epic in Mansfield. This is the first of a 3 race series of 8 Hour races...I am teaming up with NewfieSteve to do the series, Fig is soloing the series...EnglishJim is vacationing in Scotland and not sure if he will return in time to participate in this one. This is always a tough race. Mansfield is sandy...you've had a year to forget just how tough an 8 hour race is, and many are not yet in peak season form.
Should make for some good stories. I will keep you posted!!