Sunday, September 28, 2008

Oh no, it's me!

I submit that most of us who think ourselves to be serious cyclists have goals. Perhaps “dreams” is a better word. It might be a transcontinental tour, to go carless, or notch that first century. Some might be pursuing Kent Peterson’s, “ride 12,000 miles a year and eat what you want” concept, a complete brevet series, or simply to commute to work for the very first time. I think most of us are chasing something.

As time flows steadily by, dreams change. Regardless of the dream, however, riding more has consistently been a path to my destination. I have continually sought to overcome obstacles that would stand between me and my bike.

Now that years have passed, I have systematically confronted and defeated darkness, cold, and road conditions. My children have grown and my fatherly duties have diminished. I have moved to a rural area with abundant low-traffic roads. So you might be surprised to learn that, with no decrease in passion, I ride less now than a few years ago. I seem to be losing the battle and struggle to find ways to ride more.

Just recently I was slapped silly by the realization, “Oh no…it’s me!” I am the obstacle and a formidable one. There are numerous sobering examples of people that overcome so much more to achieve their dreams with so much less. How do they do it?

Maybe I’ve been focusing on my constraints while they’ve focused on the possibilities. While I’ve been making excuses to hide my own laziness and fear, they dream and do. Yes, friends, I think I’ve found the true obstacle. It is not methods, training, traffic, or gear. Oh no, to be sure, it’s me.

I’ve read your stories and they inspire me. For those who overcame themselves, tell me please, how was it done?


Hocam said...

"Every journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step"

Or something like that. Really though, the first step is the hardest. Sometimes it helps to have a friend do it with you. That way you feel you have a commitment to someone else as well as yourself.

Christopher Johnson said...

hocam, you are right. My biggest mileage seasons were with a buddy. Now, if I can only find an experienced cyclotourist in Denton County, Texas...

beth h said...

I overcome myself nearly every day.

I have a chronic condition that sometimes makes it hard for me to sustain energy over long periods of time. This means that I cannot always go long and hard even though I would like to. I used to fret about this, until I realized that the key was to get out and ride, period. Getting out the door and onto the bike is half the battle, and all the impetus I usually need.

Christopher Johnson said...

Thanks, Beth. You are one of my heroes referenced in the post. I know of your story and it gives me hope.

Dr Codfish said...

That first step is the biggest challenge and you've already overcome it. No solution to a problem is possible unless you first acknowledge the problem exists. For some this is much harder than implementing any solution.

remember that inertia is not only the tendency of a body to remain in motion, it is also the tendancy to remain at rest.

'Get the ball rolling' is much harder than 'keep the ball rolling'. The 'how' will presnet itsef, just start riding. go out, get on the bike and ride it. and remind yourself, you aready on the way to a place you want to be (more time on the bike)

Yr Pal Dr Codfish

Christopher Johnson said...

Thanks, Dr. Codfish. Probably, being "at rest" is not the problem. Doing the wrong things (driving, for example) is more likely. Too many things scheduled too far away. Saying yes to the bicycle means saying no to something. Choose wisely, eh?

Adrienne Johnson said...

How about saying 'yes' to this means saying 'another time' to that. I always forget that giving myself the opportunity to do something for myself makes it so much easier to do something for someone else down the line.

Just two cents from a stranger. Hope it means something.

Christopher Johnson said...

Adrienne, good point. Refreshing and recharging self provides resources to serve others.