March 11, 2009

Why are you doing this?

I had to stop and think…. How do I put my cycling addiction into words that I could share with Ben. I sometimes joke that when I grow up I want to be a pro cyclist. Sounds dreamy, probably isn't, but that's not the point. If cycling was my job, I could go to work, riding my bike, and still be home for dinner. As a mere mortal that has to work and loves to ride her bike, I ride, go to work, ride my bike, eat dinner, go to sleep. Although this schedule isn’t complete accurate, it often feels as such. 2 interval sessions, 2 weight sessions, long rides, a few runs, and a couple yoga classes per week…. It is already Thursday – and I have only gotten in one set of intervals and I am racing Sunday…

But back to the pressing question… Why? The cursor blinks silently on the screen in front of me as I contemplate the answer…..

When George Mallory was asked why he climbed Mt. Everest, his answer was "Because it's there".

When Lance Armstrong was asked why he left retirement to rejoin the pro peloton his response was "Because I still have something to prove—and nothing else hurts so good."

Strong men, bold ambition, willing to push themselves without regret or fear of the consequences. Both pursued dreams because they were passionate, because they loved the sensation of pain, of hard work, and of reward.

While my endeavors are minuscule in comparison to the accomplishments either Mallory or Armstrong, I understand their rational, their reasons, their drive and determination. I am in search of the same feeling of accomplishment, of success, of completion.

And yet, even after conquering a tallest mountain, winning the biggest races, and overcoming insurmountable odds, these men went back for more, grasping for the ever elusive finish line. There is no finish line and there is no summit; there is always another race or another mountain or a more difficult route. For the same reasons Mallory summited Mt. Everest the first time, he returned. The same drive and will that pushed Lance to win the Tour de France 7 straight times, pushes him to attempt to do it again.

But the question still remains; Why do I do this, why do I ride my bike, why do I train, why do I race?

A new challenge with each sunrise; the feeling of utter wastefullness, followed by pure elation and release, the glory and anguish of competition………………

I ride my bike because I feel at home in the saddle, more so with each mile that passes beneath my tires. I ride because I am want to work hard, in the effort and time, and one day see the results of this dedication. I ride because I have so much to learn and strength to built.

But most importantly, I ride because it makes me happy. Because long after the sweat is dry and the mud is wiped away, I remember the feeling of being on my bike, the sense of power and freedom and strength, and I smile.

Also posted at On the Go-Go