I enjoy all three disciplines of my sport, but I have a passion for riding a bike. Going places, riding fast, climbing mountains... ....these 'things' make riding a bike truly enjoyable. However, the athlete in me is primarily concerned with riding a bike from point A to B faster than everyone else. Having that goal sometimes turns cycling into a means to an end, but that is not the way cycling was introduced into my life.
When I began riding 100+ mile rides outside of College Station, Texas I saw them as adventures. I knew more about the surrounding areas and the countryside than all my non-riding peers. Even if they drove the same road a thousand times it would never look as it looked to me on a bike. The world slows down a bit and you notice what might otherwise go unnoticed. Sometimes when you pull over to fix a flat, and the wind no longer fills your ears, you can hear just how quiet some areas of the world are. That was always a bit relieving to me in world with a million mediums of information and noise. Every now and then I found an escape standing next to a watermelon field near Millican, Texas.
All those long rides certainly made me more fit (and a better athlete), but I did them because I wanted to and not because I needed to. I love to ride my bike, but these days I often saddle up with an agenda at hand. I don't often find myself saying "I wonder where that road goes?"
Well, I've decided to bring back some fun into my training. After my Monday morning workouts are completed I embark on "Mountain Monday." Basically, I will find a new route that goes over some of the gnarliest, steepest roads (paved and dirt) in the Boulder area. Every Monday will be somthing new that I have never done and I will go to some place I have never seen.
My buddy Chris McDonald is one of the most dedicated long course athletes I know, but even he admits that he has to have sessions that are simply "fun" for him. Otherwise, he reckons, he would just go crazy.
I think he's absolutely right.
Bring on the fun,