2/8/06 - Motivation
I've been struggling a lot with motivation this winter. Because I'm from a cooler climate than the mid-South, I typically enjoy riding in the fall and winter more than the summer. The heat and humidity here is absolutely oppressive to me. But this winter has been tough. There's a lot going on at the store (which beats the alternative...) and when that is coupled with the reluctance of leaving my now 8-month pregnant wife at home by herself; I just don't get out much. (Notice I don't have any cool "action" pictures like Kerry does...just me standing here in the store like I always am...) :)
However, when I do get out; instead of my usual pace - trying to rip up the road, pushing my heart rate to the max, working as much riding into as little time as I can - I've been keeping the intensity down and doing more "base miles" type riding; leisurely riding through the hills in West Nashville, through the park, and up and down Belle Meade Boulevard. Sometimes we just forget how enjoyable this sport really can be. With the information-overload of our heart-rate monitors and wireless cadence computers and the performance benefits of our super-light frames and aerodynamic wheels it is easy to lose focus on why we do this. Ultimately it's about the experience. Great gear sure adds to it - just like having a wide-screen plasma TV with a great surround system - but if you keep getting distracted by other things, it's hard to enjoy the movie or game you're watching.
You know, we really are blessed here with some of the best riding in the country. Before moving to Nashville in August of 2000, I lived in two cities that Bicycling Magazine has touted as being among the best cities in the country for cycling. And, while I'll tend to agree with them; Nashville is really under-rated. Yeah, we don't have all the bike paths that other cities do (but we're working on that) and the mountain biking isn't as accessible - but few places in the U.S. compare with Percy Warner Park, the Natchez Trace, Leipers Fork, and the Old Hillsboro area. When you're not trying to push your speed up to race-pace or focusing on catching the group of riders ahead of you (or keeping away from the riders behind you...) and you really just bask in the ride - Middle Tennessee is hard to beat.
We all struggle with motivation from time-to-time, and it's not always the same thing that brings us out of it. But, try a change of pace every once in a while. Take a ride without your computer and heart rate monitor. Ride with a new group or take a new route and wander a little. Sometimes this is where we find our new inspiration and re-discover our sport.
And, with the excitement and distraction of a newborn about to hit me; I'm sure to need a new source of motivation to get on my bike so I can do some racing this year and not fail miserably like I did last year. I'll be sure to let you know how that all turns out...
Now, turn off your computer and go ride!