I went on a ride today that challenged everyone on it, all three of us. We were all challenged by a heat index well over a 100 degrees, but we also faced our own independent challenges. The hills challenged one rider, oddly enough this rider was the most athletic and well-trained of us, but he doesn’t like continuous hills. Another rider was challenged by a mechanical problem when his rear shift cable snapped and he had to finish the ride in his small cog. Yet another rider was challenged, not so much by the hills, but by the frustrating and futile nature of trying to organize a group ride. I’ll let you guess which one I was.
So this ride hit some major Southern Illinois landmarks, we went by Devil’s Kitchen lake, Giant City State Park, Alto Pass and the famous Bald Knob Cross, and Blue Sky Winery, oh and pretty much all of those things are on big hills.
So my riding buddy plans these really tough hilly rides, todays ride was 62 miles and had about 5000 feet of climbing. People have asked me, why? Why does he plan out these rides that are so hard? And why do you go with him?
I was trying to figure that out on the drive home today, I even asked him. It all boils down to challenge and accomplishment, he said he finds a flat, easy route unfulfilling. See, this guy has no interest in riding fast, he has a pace and he sticks to it, it’s not fast, but it gets the job done.
When you are climbing hills there is this sense of accomplishment. You work hard and you get a reward. I mean isn’t that how life should work. The longer you climb the bigger the reward, the greater the accomplishment. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to get there as long as you don’t give up.
So how about the rider struggling with the frustrating nature of trying organize a group ride, well that rider was also struggling with guilt. The guilt of leaving behind another rider. It was even worse since that rider had a mechanical problem and had to walk up every hill that he couldn’t climb in his 11 tooth cog, which was most of them.
I try to make it a habit of calling every ride I finish a succesful ride, and this ride definitely finished, but it didn’t end a moment too soon. Everyone made it back safely and really that is enough to make me happy.