Saturday, December 3, 2016

Combined challenges

Imagine a life without challenge. You wake up. You do the same thing you've done every day for the last...well, for as long as you can remember. You come home, eat, relax, go to bed. Repeat ad infinitum. Boring, right?

We can agree, I think, that challenges are good. They don't have to be large. You don't have to climb Kilimanjaro. You don't have to write a symphony or open a Michelin-starred restaurant. You just have to step out of your comfort zone a little.

What is your comfort zone as relates to bikes? Do you just run errands? Do you commute? Do you ride centuries every weekend? Do you stay out of the rain?

My comfort zone is variable, but it's not wide-ranging. Various injuries have kept me off the bicycle for months at a time. I've only ridden in the rain once. I've only ridden more than twenty miles two or three times recently; and I've always stopped to take pictures on those rides. I commute by bike two to three times a week. My average mileage is about forty miles a week, and I take it easy for most of those miles. And in my adult life, I've been riding a bike for less than a year.
Gratuitous photo, but it was taken on a bike ride


I've decided to challenge myself a little. I registered for a charity ride to benefit local schools. It's forty-five miles on a largely flat route. There are some unknowns to this ride, though. The most worrying is: can I actually ride forty-five miles at a steady pace? I don't really know. What if I get a flat? I've never changed a flat while on a ride. It's likely that it wouldn't be a problem, but who knows? Also, can I keep up with the group? Again, I don't know.

To be honest, I'm somewhat fearing taking this on. And looking forward to it. There will be training rides before it happens, and I do have until the end of April to get ready. But will that be enough?

There are also the logistics of the bike. When I first started thinking about doing this ride almost half a year ago, I envisioned doing it on a sportier and lighter bike than the one I have. That's not going to happen, and that's both good and bad. I will have to train harder while at the same time training sensibly. I'll have to work against my tendency to overdo; I don't want to be sidelined by another injury. I'll have to get better at pacing myself.

There is a secondary challenge to this ride, though, and it's something I truly hate. I have to ask people to sponsor me. In uncertain economic times, I have to ask friends and acquaintances for money.  I'm uncertain how to best approach this; feel free to advise me in the comments section if you've ever been in this situation.


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