Okay I get it. Being over 40 means that any exercise is not easy. Let start with when it was easy. When I was in grade 8 I ran a low 5 min mile. Running was easy. When I was grade 11, I played for the Under 17 Vancouver Rugby team. Rugby was easy. I proved that in high school not many people where faster than me. In my 20’s, I think like many men that follow a career path, family, house and such; fitness took a back seat and the bricks of butter piled on me like someone stuffing them in a backpack while I was wearing it.
Enter the 1/4 life crisis – I picked up mountain bike racing – I was 28 and in the Senior Sport class – It took me forever to eek out 10 points to advance from beginner because the young guys would show up and blow by me like I was standing still. These guys made it look easy – and what I figured – they had no career yet, or a job at least so they could ride all day long and perfect their fitness to top me. Thats what I believed anyway cause it wasn’t fair that I would try so hard and not move up in the standings. So I quit racing and never really touch a bike for 10 years after.
Back came the butter and decided to buy a road bike – enter a couple of long rides and voila – a mid-life crisis. This time I’m competing in granfondos and in the most competitive age class 40-49 of these races. There are more guys in this class, the fastest and the most dedicated to cycling. These guys eat, drink and train cycling….at least that is what I tell myself. The last granfondo I finished 69 out of 225 and 192 out of 880. What did this mean? It meant that most of the guys faster than me in my age class made up the top 15% of the placing. What do I need to do to make it easy again? I thought I was getting faster, but there is always someone faster! To get just one km/hour faster overall means flirting with cramps/hammering up hills/maxing out my system…it just gets too hard to compete at the next level.
Why not stop? Why not go slow and enjoy the ride? This is what I figured out – cause next year I’ll be 43, year after that, 44 etc until I’m 50, or 60….well you get the picture. If I don’t do this now, it will be too hard to do it later… You only live once and time is still marching on to that eniviable finish line down the road. This is the finish line that I’m trying to avoid, but I know that just when I cross it, when I close my eyes and my life plays back for me, I will know that I did the best I could and I’ll have a smile on my face.
So, when is the next granfondo?
Woke up at some un-godly hour to complete a ride into Vancouver. I usually complete a nice loop from Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal along Marine Drive to UBC. I added a nice little loop to Iona Beach which considering my motivation level lately, made all the difference for me to enjoy the trip. 100km in the bag.
On the way back on the ferry, I bump into a rider that I passed along the way a couple of times enroute along Marine Drive (I stopped for coffee) and she was on a older mountain bike with normal clothes on. I probably looked so foreign to her with all my biking specific clothes (called a kit in our circles). She complained that her seat made her butt sore, but she was really looking forward to seeing Gibsons (somehow the pain would be worth it when she got to her designation). She said that she’s never been to the coast and decided to take her bike from the west end to the ferry and to Gibsons- good for her! She wasn’t too keen about all the hills and I gave her some suggestions to avoid them. I asked if she was visiting friends and she said No, and that she had a couple of hours to spend and wanted to visit Gibsons cause it was there. For some reason, I find this surprising to me just like people who want to retire to Nicaragua (don’t laugh, I know a couple doing it) or people who want go to visit Mongolia, so why Gibsons? I suppose it’s a town that starts with “G” and needs to be visited….I jest and told this rider to visit Lower Gibsons for a really scenic experience, will avoid some of the more nasty hills and to visit the artisan shops along the water. My point is that her comments really offer me a chance to reflect that Gibsons (and the Sunshine Coast for that matter) is great place to visit, has places that starts with “G” (and many more from the alphabet) and she opened my eyes to reflect that I really appreciate this beautiful place that I live in. Riding the Sunshine Coast is really worth the sore butt to visit.
Okay, a couple of weeks ago I hit a nice peak and I wanted to ride all the time. I put 900km in the month of July and my avg km/hour basically bumped up a couple of k’s. So, today I forced myself to wake up early, decided to drive to Sechelt and join a group ride to get me motivated. So I waited at the meeting spot and no one showed (or bothered). I started with the motivational talk with myself – do a long ride and you’ll be better for it. Trust me you’ll be glad you did…F-it was my body’s response. So, do a short ride. At least you can justify driving for 1/2 hour to get here. F-it was the response again. Why don’t you turn around, go to a lung association fundraiser breakfast and talk about cycling. Ah! that is an awesome idea! – So I turned around and got a 8min ride in.
So this is the lows of cycling – two to three weeks ago I had awesome energy and power. This week – well I need someone like Tony Robbins to keep my interested in riding and complete this right of passage. I think its boredom of the same routes and trying to ride early when I’m tired. I think I’ll try a Vancouver trip this Sunday as part of re-motivation plan.