If you have ever ridden a bike for any significant distance you’ve probably had a conversation with yourself. It’s really hard not to. When I ride, the conversations I have with myself can be put into one of five categories.
I have the most amazing arguments with myself when the ride gets tough. Most of the time the argument goes something like this.
Dang, my legs are really starting to get tired.
Just get over it you’ve still got 20 miles to go
Maybe someone I know will drive by and offer me a ride home
Yea, like that’s going to happen
OK, dumb thought. Must keep riding. This is fun remember
If I’m having a good cycling day for some reason I’m giving myself good pep talks. Such as:
Oh yeah, I just made it over the third hill and my legs are holding up pretty well today. I’ll have no problem with the rest of them at this rate. Now I remember why I ride.
This conversation usually begins way before I start riding. I start making up excuses why I can take the day off or go off of my training plan. The excuses range from really technical such as “I read in a book that your body needs recovery time and if it’s good enough for Lance Armstrong I need some time off too”. This actually works sometimes but most of the time I come back to my senses and ride anyway.
The other justification is a lot simpler such as should I ride today or take a nap? Ride or nap? Ride or nap? This one is a lot tougher for me because one of my super powers is the ability to fall asleep any time anywhere. Napping usually wins in this conversation.
When I road the STP in 2007 I bought a cool STP t-shirt the night before the ride. On day 1 when I really wanted to quit I had a justification conversation with myself to keep riding. The conversation was “hey man, you already bought the shirt if you quit now you’ll feel like a dork wearing it.” It’s amazing that a simple conversation like that could motivate me for 102 miles but it worked.
Once I’m riding for some reason I have these wild calculation conversations going on in my head most of the time. They are like those terrible distance times rate = time story problems that we learned in 6th grade but they never end.
They sound like “OK, I’m traveling at 15 MPH and I have 37 miles to go if I factor in 1 pit stop and three hilly sections what time do I estimate that I’ll get back home. Oh yeah, I’ll also need to factor in time to hook the bikes on the rack and driving time back to the house”.
And on and on it goes. To end this horrible math conversation I usually turn off my distance reading on my cycling computer. Without that figure I’m not smart enough to solve the equation anymore so I quit thinking about it. Conversation ended. Thank heavens.
I’ve often heard that riding a bike is equivalent to traveling at the speed of life. By that I mean you are able to see a lot of things on your journey by bike that you never would by car and you also have more time to think about these strange things. So these conversations usually go like this.
“Man that barn looks old. I wonder if I was even born when it was last painted. I wonder if they had to paint it all by brush back then. Who do you think painted it and how many owners do you think have owned it since it’s been painted.” This conversation could meander for hours and usually does if no one else is around.
Come to think of it I do have a lot of conversations with myself when I ride alone. I hope this is healthy. I should probably ride with others more often. At least I don’t have group conversations with myself when I ride alone.