Is is racing or just plain ol’ riding?
Getting on your bike is fun. I think that much goes without saying. Of all the sports I’ve done, it’s the only one that comes close to offering a breeze. Of course there are also the break-neck speeds, which at times top 12 miles an hour (wow!). I’ve done a biking event every weekend this month starting with CapTexTri, then Atlas 50-miler, then Shammies and Koozies 25-miler, and I’ve started to wonder: is it more fun to race or ride?
With racing, you’ve got the anticipation, the planning, and all the training. I don’t know about you, but throughout all of my training I’ve always got the Race Day Reel running at the back of my mind. Race Day Reel is the motivational movie starring me as I’m zipping through a cloud of ticker tape and rose petals past blurry stripes of gape-mouthed awe-struck onlookers, or as I’m hammering up the Pyrenees driven only by the illustriously delicate waft of my yellow jersey and the empowering clang of cowbells, or as I drive toward the finish line through a throng of over-joyed under-privileged children who’s medical bills I’ve pledged to pay with the million dollars I am – at that very moment- mere revolutions from winning. Silly? Of Course. Preposterous? Without a doubt. Effective? Damn straight.
But with all the race-day anticipation comes also the all-too-quickly gone glory of the race itself. You’re always left with the noon-on-Christmas feeling thinking “Wait, that’s it?” (Unless you’re like me and noon on Christmas is just six hours until your Birthday Dinner.) This, of course, is why races are like potato chips (well, one of the MANY ways races are like potato chips) – can’t have just one. I wonder, then, if the reason people rarely stop at one race is because racing bikes is really all that great, or if riders are every racing toward the elusive end of the rainbow, the pot of gold, the ticker tape, the rose petals, the cowbells, and the miraculously cured children.
You don’t have to worry about any of that with riding because, well, riding is just riding. You still get the bib, you still get the ridiculous outfit, and you still get tiny cups of Gatorade and orange wedges. To some extent you still get the bragging rights, too, because even though it’s decidedly un-cool to try and BEAT your fellow riders, you can at least brag to your non-rider friends since what the heck did they do while you rode fifty miles? You generally don’t have to train much for a regular ride since you’re going for distance, not speed, and since there’s less of that build-up in advance of a regular ride, there’s less of the corresponding let-down on the back end. Depending on your distance though, there may be considerable chafing on your back end . . .
but(t) I guess that’s another post entirely.