Saturday, August 17, 2013

Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and the world laughs harder.

Between rides this week we took the bikes into the bike shop for tune ups, took my bike back to the bike shop to fix a squeak down by the bottom bracket, scouted out a new route out of the city to the north, and watched so-bad-they're-good horror movies. Friday, normally a rest day for us, found us doing an easy little ride, 30 miles or so, just to enjoy a perfect summer morning. We followed it Saturday with an Everglades Bicycle Club group ride, a ride that was totally excellent. Our ride leader was Sue, a relentlessly cheerful woman who makes the Energizer bunny look like a slacker. (She is currently my role model. If I can ever ride half as well as her I'll die happy.)

We've gotten better over the summer months. Our default speed (the speed we can comfortably ride for hours on end, AKA our touring speed) has increased a solid 2 mph. We want to up it another 2 mph by this time next year. Club rides have helped us in two ways. First, we're learning a bunch of new skills and getting the opportunity to ride with people who are younger, fitter, and faster than us. That keeps us on our toes and pushes us to work closer to our fitness limits. Second, it lets us see other people's mistakes and learn from them. For instance, on today's ride I watched a couple of strong riders competing with each other in several sprints. The first couple of times they were fine, but they overdid the competition. By the halfway point of the ride, they both looked like candidates for overheating or cramping. They were too way too macho to admit it, but you could see it in their riding style on the second half of the ride.

Spending time with the triathlete and road bike community has been fascinating. They thrive on competition and suffering. I understand the suffering. It's the price you have to pay to push at your limits in just about any physical activity. Competition, on the other hand, is something I've never understood. A lifetime ago when I was much, much younger, I participated in competitive events because instructors thought it was a good thing that developed character. I am sorry to say that when I won, I had to fake being excited. And when I lost, I had to fake being disappointed. I just didn't see the point in the whole endeavour.

You set your goals, you do your best, and you enjoy the trip. It'll pretty much get you anywhere you want to go.
The Cape Florida lighthouse on a perfect summer morning.