We all need to be reminded from time to time what is important. That may be the people around you, the values you hold, or what we choose to pursue. As cyclists we obsess over grams, gear, body image, time, and any other metric of performance or vanity. We can lose sight of what is important and why we choose to engage in the most glorious of sports.
This image is of my Moots Routt 45, but the the gear, and specs didn’t matter at this moment. This picture was taken deep into this year’s Land Run 100 in Stillwater OK. The race winners had crossed the line several hours prior and I still had 20 miles to go. Time no longer mattered. What did matter was that I chose to enjoy the experience and reflect on the companionship, culture, and pursuit of achievement that is ingrained in our sport. I had two goals while I waited for Bobby to fire the cannon that morning. 1.) Finish 2.) Enjoy the ride. It is easy to focus on the first, but forget the second. This picture captures both of those in a single frame. The red Oklahoma clay that covers the bike is a scar that speaks to the achievement of the event. I was there, I earned that mud. The bike has been washed, polished, and lubed but the mud, like a scar, just doesn’t go away. The red hue inside a bolt head, or worked into the bar tape, is an earned reminder, an earned scar, of that day. The beer, of course, speaks to that second goal. Finishing time was not a goal, and taking time to sit and enjoy the company of others with a finely crafted brew proved to be the more important for my enjoyment of the experience.
This was my story, and maybe yours is different. Maybe that extra position up the finisher list is what is important. Maybe the joy of a Twinkie, or coffee, or simply sitting by a river mid-ride is what is actually important. But make sure you take stock and remind yourself from time to time of those important things. Always enjoy the ride.