I've recently "downgraded" myself from commuter/weekend adventurer to simply commuter. In a way, that makes me feel...I don't know, less of a cyclist. But in another way, it makes me feel better. Because I never wanted to be a "real" cyclist. And I was well on my way to becoming an object lesson, believing that there were things I had to do to really enjoy cycling, and burning out on cycling as a result.
What did I feel I had to do? I felt I had to ride more and more miles. I felt I had to tackle harder and harder climbs. I felt I had to conform to someone else's idea of what a cyclist should do.
|Gratuitous bike porn: the new Salsa Vaya in mint green with a Tiagra drivetrain. It's the same color as my Straggler. Do you think my wife will notice if I buy this and just leave it where the Straggler usually is?|
And one day I thought: no, screw this. I'm not going to ride thirty miles today - I'm going to ride until I feel like turning around. I'm not going to work on the difficult climb near my work - I'm going to work on the climb that's on my commute that I still find difficult. Or I'm not going to work on anything -- I don't feel like riding today, so I won't ride today. I'll learn how to work on my bike instead. Or I'll play music. Or I'll hike. Or do the grocery shopping and cook dinner. Or I'll just watch some stupid kung-fu exploitation flick that adds nothing whatsoever of merit to my life.
Have I gotten a result from this yet? I'm not sure. I've been noticing that my commute climb is a little easier, and oddly, a little more fun. I get to spend more time with my family, and my family has expressed their appreciation. I'm also finding that walking can be enjoyable. In general, I think I enjoy cycling more when I don't feel I have to do it.
My name is Doug, and I am a cycling addict. But I'm in recovery. I still have ambitions to do some long tours. And I'm still going to do at least one charity ride in the coming year. But primarily I'll be looking for fun things to do on the bike; like going to a nearby brewpub or checking out some coffee place I've never been to.
Even though cycling is and is probably going to remain my primary athletic focus, it's not going to be the focus of my life. I can't take it so seriously that it eclipses everything else. And who knows? One of the results might be that my blogging starts being entertaining again.