“No matter how slow you go, you’re still lapping everyone on the couch” – Anonymous
My alarm clock was going off on a Saturday morning. Why was my alarm clock going off on a Saturday morning? Better yet, why was it going off at 530 A.M when it’s still pitch black cold outside. What in the world could induce me to leave my nice warm comfy bed underneath my nice warm fluffy comforter for the god forsaken cold and darkness that I could see (and feel thanks to the drafty window) right outside?
Oh right. Riding.
The moment of procrastination only seemed to last until I started getting my bike loaded. Then it changed to excitement for what the day held ahead.
Bike loaded. Gear loaded. Caffeine fruit drink ready to wake me up even more. Pandora playing on the speakers. A hint of light just edging out over the horizon. And up towards Denver I go.
This is how I spend a lot of my weekends, loading the bike and traveling. Either to events or more often just to join some friends for practice.
There’s always that moment of hesitation, of procrastination. My body asking myself whether it’s worth loading the bike. Riding and getting all exhausted. Having to load it back up and then unload it again once I got home. But it’s only a very small moment.
Because I get to spend my weekend not only riding with some of my best friends in the world, I get to spend it riding on mountains. In the middle of the most beautiful places that have ever been created. In the fresh air away from all the drama of the city and the modern world. It doesn’t matter if I’m driving an hour away or eight. There’s something about conquering a section, you and the bike working as one, that cleanses my soul. It reenergizes me. It frees me. It makes me feel alive.
What could be better than that?
This Saturday was no exception. Although it looked like we were in for an interesting day when we got to the riding spot. It was covered in snow! Well…traction practice I guess.
We were a big group, about ten riders. Some on new bikes, some new riders, some (like me) on older bikes (my Oddball is 16 years old and still running strong). But we’re all the same on snow. All searching for that elusive grip. Perfectly fine one second, then struggling up the hill while our rear tire spins uselessly on the ice.
It was an interesting mix. Places where the snow had melted enough to get to the rocks and dirt underneath, then suddenly hit a patch of ice that you weren’t expecting.
You can’t fudge on ice. Either you have your body correct to get traction, or you’re spinning.
Which I was for most of the day on this one section of the trail. I was at the back of the line and just spun out going up a hill. My friends were gone and I was still struggling away. Maybe getting an inch or two of forward movement for every foot I was sliding back down. And getting more and more frustrated all the time.
Then just as I was about to give up and head back to the truck, my friends came back. And thankfully helped push me and the bike up the hill. I love my friends. I really do. Because of them, I kept going on when I would have given up.
At the end of the day I was cold, worn out, muddy and my thigh muscles were burning from trying to perfect a more neutral stance over the bike. I was absolutely exhausted, falling asleep even as my friend drove back to his house.
I wouldn’t have traded any of it.
I could have stayed home. I could have stayed warm. I wouldn’t have had to deal with slipping tires and battling my bike and whatever else might have gone wrong on Saturday.
But I would have been bored out of my mind.
It’s easy to stay home and do nothing. And there’s nothing wrong with that either, once in a great while. But I know for me, I easily talk myself out of things. Like it’s too cold to go outside. It’s too early to be up. I don’t feel good. It’s way too easy to make excuses.
And yet once I get moving, once I get going, once I commit to something, it is always the most amazing day I have ever had.
I could have stayed home Saturday. Ignored my alarm. Stayed nice and warm.
And I would have missed the thrill of being outside in the most beautiful place in the world doing something few other people will even try to do. I was doing it with other people who enjoyed the same sport I do. And we were all having a blast helping each other learn and grow and just have fun.
It’s sometimes hard to get yourself to go. It’s easy to make excuses, especially when you’re afraid you’ll make a fool of yourself (ie me and my fear of the gym because of what other people will think of me working out). But the truth?
The benefit of pushing yourself, even in adverse conditions, is so much better than the guilt of procrastinating and not doing anything at all.
And there is nothing stopping you. Anyone can get up and go do something. Something that is more than just sitting on a couch all day watching TV, watching your brain waste away. You don’t need permission. You don’t need a bunch of money. You don’t need anything but a will and a drive to just do something different.
So get up. Go out. Get off the couch. Do something. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later.