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August 13, 2008

The Thrill of Adventure, The Thrill of "What If"

I'm trying very hard to convince myself to go on a bicycle ride today.  The problem is, my inner voice.  It keeps coming up with excuses.  Not all of the excuses are bad - I really don't have a patch kit or a pump installed on my new bike.  If I get a flat, I *am* royally screwed.  I'm not on the tour where in five seconds, another cyclist will help me out; or where I can just call a number and vehicle sag will be there within minutes.

When I leave this house and venture out farther than I can walk - 10, 15, 20 miles - I'm taking a risk.  And not only a safety risk.  If I venture out of this house, farther than I can walk, I'll be doing it in cycling gear.  The jersey, the shorts, the shoes.

Part of the reason i didn't buy the jersey my first year of that cycling tour was because I felt that I hadn't earned it yet - hadn't proved myself to anyone.  This year, I bought it because I was a veteran.  And after this tour, I felt I had the right to a better bike.  A better way to ride.  So I forked over about $900 total for shoes and pedals (they attach to each other) and a brand new, spiffy road bike.

But now I'm in territory I haven't biked before(not really, anyway).    Am I good enough for these buffalo cyclists?  These buffalo motorists?  Will a car hit me if I use the road?  I have to use the road.

And what about deeper into my psyche?  What about that voice that says I'm not good enough - not strong enough?  To do a twenty mile ride?  Or to do a century?  The voice that says - sure, you've been carb loading and eating great for 2 days.  It means nothing.  You've ate horrible for 20 years.  This is just a phase.

And I have to force myself to reevaluate what I'm doing.  Do I like cycling?  Yes.  I love the adventure - what's around the corner?  Can I make it up that hill?  How fast can I go?  How far can I go?  Can I keep up to that person ahead of me?

I know.  It sounds like I'm trying to have a healthy relationship with cycling - and failing.  If you replace "cycling" with "boyfriend" it all sort of fits together in a weird sort of way.

And the worst part is, I know how to overcome this: ride.  It's as simple as that.  Beyond the day to day training schedule and diet plans and power bars, I just need to ride.  I can put on my normal clothes to feel like I'm not forcing myself to be something else; I can take side roads so I don't have to deal with traffic.  But in the end, I have to ride.

Spiritually?  This is a pattern of self doubt.  I know others go through the same process, be it in an athletic or spiritual aspect of their lives.  Am I good enough?  What if others judge me?

And I know that we all have been taught since kindergarten not to care about what others think...but it's easier said than done.  And so, in spiritual dilemma, or athletic dilemma, or even a work or school related dilemma, I think the solution is right there: do something.  Don't think and ponder and question and doubt.

Tell that voice inside to STFU.  GTFO.  (That means shut up, for you non internet-lingo savvy people) And do something about it.  That way, at the end of the day, you can have the last few words:  I told you so.

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