Mont 2012 is this weekend and what an interesting weekend it will be. I had a pretty major accident once again last friday which has incapacitated my right arm and hence why i have had to pull out of the mont once again. It always seems to be the mont. Every single one of my major accidents all situate around the rough time of the Mont 24hr race. Cursed? Maybe.
This time i was pottering along at 20km/h on the cooks cycle path and entering a downhill blind corner i suddenly noticed that there were two riders riding towards me. Abreast. Oh shit …… I smacked into the guy that was on my side of the cycle path straight on and the impact was pretty major. For 2 days i deliberated from visiting the hospital because i was absolutely scared that i had to go in for surgery again but self preservation kicked in after two days and the pain not receding much at all. I was sure i had broken something. Walked into the emergency ward once again for the 3rd time and got down to business and the best way i could describe it was i handled it like a pro. Pro in that i have visited the emergency ward one time too many. The Dr asked me WTH i was doing on the bike again after my previous two accidents and i could only return a grimmacing half smile. What else could i say to make her understand why i do what i do?
The anxious wait ended and the Dr pulled me into the room where they told me nothing was broken. I was so elated that that moment i wanted to cry. As i type this i have regained a little bit of useage of my right arm. I would say my arm is about 50-60% there. I can pickup an iphone but anything else will cause searing pain. Apparently i bruised my muscle tissues badly and it would take some time to heal. Whatever, no broken bones and i can’t be happier. I have being giving some serious thinking about riding though. As you can imagine my wife ain’t too happy about this. She made a very good point that made me think deeply on this.
“Jing, it is always an accident, unless you are purposely veering towards a pole mid ride any of your falls will always be an accident”
I understand what she’s saying and i guess there is always going to be a justification for why i have my “accidents”. It no longer is good enough to simply say “oh the road was crappy” or “it was completely out of my control, i wasn’t even going fast!”. Knowing this i thought about my riding a little and thought about it some more. It became seriously hard to figure out what i could do to change my riding patterns to both satisfy myself and also my partner who i respect hugely. I broke down all the little aspects of riding that i like and dug deeper and deeper into why i was riding 7hrs a week. Stripped away of superficial reasons i figured out why i was doing what i do.
I ride so much because of my pride.
When it all comes down to it it has everything to do with my pride. Hear me out for a sec here.
It is a funny thing. I consider myself a decent rider….but not really too. When i step back and look at my abilities i know that i am probably better than the majority of humans in this world but when i look closer i am not even close to some of the people i know and many i dont. As such what do i do? I set myself realistic goals. I bench my performance on people that i know, friends that i ride with and i am fairly happy with where my speed ranks there. Notice how i say speed, i think by even me saying speed is something that is a slight issue. Ever since i have gotten the road bike i have veered to riding road more and more partly because it is accessible, partly because it is a great builder of outright speed/stamina. However, i would caution a guess to say that around that time, my riding has changed a little too. I would say i started having less fun on the bike overall. Strava has come and further pushed me and perhaps many others down this hole as well.
Before i go further i would like to state that this is obviously my own perspective. To people with different priorities strava is a godsend but the more i think about Strava, i feel as if, it has taken a lot of the fun out of my riding. I never used to log MTB km’s because i simply used to go out there and just have fun. I never cared if i stopped in the midst of a segment to wait for friends but now all i do is ride to a segment start and think about how to beat the KOM. Sure this is a great way to challenge yourself but challenging yourself will only get you so far. Again this depends on your priorities but for me, the more i think about it, the more i think that i would like to take a step back.
Gone are the days when i met with Justin and we just farted around pushing each other technically and just “playing” on the bike. Right now, all i hear is people finding a segment on Strava and trying to beat each other. My long winded point is this. When i took the time to inspect myself i found that a lot of the riding i do isn’t all that fun anymore. Sure the social thing is awesome but i could socialise anywhere with my friends. My riding buddies are such good friends now that we no longer need to be riding to enjoy each others company. The 100km rides i do is just ticking kms off. They are for sure not fun and i only do it to keep myself progressing in terms of riding fitness.
Still, right now, it is really hard for me to change my views on my own riding. Like i said i know i am not a king shiet rider but i know that i have reached a certain level too. For me to give up that certain level is really hard and i know when i see riders that were previously slower than me fly off into the distance it will be an even harder moment to swallow. Still, this is where i realise that maybe i am too proud. I am too proud to just simply have fun. If you told me to meet you at 9am for a ride and ride 10kms i will most likely scoff at you for suggesting such a short ride even though it could be heaps more fun than my 100km+ solo ride.
It started from me trying to figure out how i could minimise the chance of accidents and it turned into a full fledged look into why i ride. I want to be a little less proud of myself. This way i can let go and not feel so bad when i dont do a full 7+ hr week. I want to focus less on being the fastest in a group of people and instead focus on having more fun.
I realise a lot of people that read this blog are strava crazed atm and i am not rocking your boats at all. The above findings are simply related to myself.