Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sucking it up- a reflection

I was recently reading a post on bike forums asking about nutrition for a hard century. Curious to see what the actual question was and the corresponding answers, I clicked on the topic. As I perused the original post, it stuck in my head that completing most any long ride, especially century distance, is way more mental than physical. Sure you need to have some bike skills and I wouldn't necessarily recommend just picking up one day and deciding to ride your bike 100 miles, but I think it's something that could be completed in a day by just about any halfway and probably some less than fit people.

In any case, this particular post mentioned that he'd gotten 85% done with the ride and bailed because he just didn't have the energy to go on. I was wondering just how hard this century must have been. So, like any good netophile, I looked up the ride, found the rating for it, and noted that it had about the same difficulty as the two road centuries I'd ridden last year and not as hard as the gravel ride we did this weekend if you look purely at the climbing stats. If you throw in the gravel and mountain bike aspect, this weekend's ride probably is something that would rank as "extremely difficult" by the scale that was used.

But, back to my original thought. I think the biggest hurdle is as Squirrel put it, to "suck it up". I'm new to the biking scene having been here for less than a year, but it just seems to me that there's a ready excuse around every corner of why you didn't complete a ride or possibly even start it. I guess I shouldn't expect much different as that sentiment is echoing day to day life more than ever these days. So why is it that the general population is slowly becoming more and more "pussified"?

My question really was generated as I was browsing the bargain books at Costco last night and happened across "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson. It was a book I'd been meaning to read for a while. I'd read "In a Sunburned Country" a few years back in preparation for our trip to Australia and found it extremely entertaining. I figured this one had to at least be close. For the bargain price of $4.95 I figured I wouldn't be out much either way. I cracked it open to prattle off a few pages before bed and 150 pages and several hours later, I figured I'd better turn in or risk not being able rise at all for work.

The story is about hiking the Appalachian Trail in the eastern United States. My overall thought was that as a whole, the general public is becoming further and further displaced from the outdoors. We're content to distance ourselves with every creature comfort known to man. Now, I'm all for air conditioning, heating, video games, and enclosed spaces as much as the next guy, but you've got to step away from those things once in a while and get a little nature back under your skin.

I consider myself pretty lucky in regards to my upbringing. I wasn't some spoiled kid with all the toys and there were certainly things we didn't have, but I had the opportunity to play outside and learn to enjoy the great outdoors through hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, and scouting. I think a lot of those activities played a role in shaping my personal attitudes and beliefs. I learned self reliance and perseverance. I was able to roam free without the worry of being lost in an urban jungle. I'm well aware that our world is changing and even in the scant few years that have passed since my adolescence it seems the world has become more dangerous and the opportunities are shrinking for people to get "out there".

Almost anyone that gets to know me for any period of time has talked to me about doing something in the outdoors. It's a latent passion for me. I never really put my finger on it until now, but being outside is what I like. I just find activities that get me out of the house and put my energy into those activities. I almost typically end up inviting friends to come join me fishing sometime or to come down to my parent's farm and go camping. Strangely enough, few people have taken me up on the offer, but I'm always hopeful.

Funny how topics just ramble on from a seemingly small start point. I guess to try and put a wrap on this one I just need to remind you to get out there, suck it up, encourage your kids to step back from the electronic leashes, and be a part of rediscovering what life is and should be about.

1 comment:

Iowagriz said...


For me, there is something about the outdoors that recharges my batteries and puts FUN back into life. Many times I don't feel like I want to get out, but after 10minutes of whatever the journey is, I always say "Now why didn't I want to do this?"