Tough Guy Points

I will not begin to tell you how many groans, creaks and pops I have heard today coming from different parts of my body.  Yep, it’s the day after a tough century ride, the first of the year, and this body of mine is letting me know we worked hard yesterday.

In addition, as I am sitting in the hotel (I flew to Spokane today so I could teach tomorrow) this chair and my saddle sore rear end are not that happy with each other.

Given all this, why do I do these rides, especially in crappy weather?

You know, I heard that a lot today.  My flight didn’t leave until 2, so I went into the office this morning to get some things done before I took off.  Like any Monday anywhere, people asked “So what did you do this weekend?”  To which I replied, “Well I rode 105 hard miles yesterday.”

Almost to a person today, I heard, “It rained yesterday!  Why would you ride 100 miles on a day like that?”  (Of course, unasked, but thought by most, was “Why would you ride 100 miles on a bike at all???”)  Yes it goes without saying, people do NOT think I am right in the head!

This made me think back to a conversation I had during the ride yesterday.  I ran into Paul.  His kid and mine went to grade school together, and they both learned to speed skate in the same Sunday night class.  He came up on me about 5 miles from the Redneck Rest Area, and we rode along for a while and talked.

As with most people that day, the subject of the weather came up.  He told me he was convinced that we were going to wake up to a deluge.  He was bound and determined to ride, though.  He said me he’d be  “earning tough guy points” riding in the rain.  He then took off (being faster than I was) and headed for the turn around,

I had a lot of time to think about this after he left.  The advantage to rides with only a couple hundred riders is that there is plenty of time for pondering and thinking.  So I did.  Do I do these rides for “Tough guy points?”

I won’t lie, I DO like telling people I did a long ride over the weekend.  It’s fun to see the double take on those who don’t know me that well.  I am the only one I know (outside of the blogger buddies) who rides that far in a day.  So yes, if I am being truthful, I do like the bragging rights.

I also remember one of my long slogs in Mt. Rainier National Park.  I was cranking steady on a pretty steep section, when I passed a herd of Harley riders stopping to take pictures.  I saw one of them look at me, then turn to his buddy and say “That’s hard core!” Yes, I did pedal a bit faster as I passed them.  I now had an image to up hold.

I also will admit though, there are times, during the toughest rides, I am ready to quit. Right here, in the Crater Lake century, I might’ve flagged down the SAG van if it woulda showed up just then.


I was hot, tired, and wondering why I signed up for this “stupid” ride.  But I finished.  I may never do this one again, but any time someone mentions Crater Lake, I KNOW I survived.  Not everyone can do this.

Then there is the weather factor.  This is far from the first time I rode in the rain.


And as you can see from this face it is not my favorite thing.  There have also been days that I planned to crank out a 40 or so just to see the rain coming down sideways.  (Hell, my wife pointed out to me last night that we have as much rain all ready this year as we had by October last year!)  I have more than once ditched the ride, built a fire and read a book instead.  It is hard to leave a warm house.

So, if I am not looking for tough guy points.  And I don’t love riding in the rain, why the hell did I ride yesterday?

After I finished pondering, I had the answer.  I really like long distance riding.  Alone, or supported, 100 miles rides gives me hours of cycling time.  There are no kid, work, or crazy mom-in-law issues on the back of the bike.  It’s fresh air, birds, and seeing the miles go by using only the muscles in your legs.  It’s taking the time to look around on a road you’ve traveled time and time again, and deciding to take that picture you wouldn’t be able to take from a car.


It’s coming home to Michelle and showing her the pictures and telling her the stories of what happened, and more importantly, her actually being interested in the stories and proud of me for the ride.

It’s sitting back afterwards, dog butt tired


But having the stupid grin you see here.  Why am I grinning?  Because that kinda tired feels good!  It’s not pulling weeds tired, or helping your brother-in-law move tired, or pounding your head at work on a bad day tired.  It’s “Dammit I did it!” tired! The tired of satisfaction!

And that boys and girls is the key.  I do these rides because I love them and because I get the feeling of accomplishment afterwards.  (RAIN or shine).  There will come a day when Mountainstroh’s legs won’t be able to do 100 miles.  We all get old someday.  But when that day happens, I can look back on the archive book and my posts and pictures, and tell stories to whatever old farts I am sitting with. Maybe I can even join an old fart group at Starbucks.

I am almost 50, and still building memories.  So screw the tough guy points, the ride made me happy and that is the most important part!

Like the wind folks, thanks for visiting!

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