I started reading a new book today. I know it will be shock that is has to do with cycling. In this case, it’s a cyclists who wanted to use her bike to cross Alaska in the winter. Yes, yes, I know the first thing that probably pops into your head is “WHY?? Why would someone want to do that?” (And for the record, I think cycling is Alaska would be amazing!! In winter it would totally suck!)
As the book starts, she tries to tackle the question She, and I, and many of us who push themselves get, WHY do you do stuff like this?
I get this question all the time. When people see my photos at the end of one day 200 mile ride from Seattle to Portland (looking a bit tired!)
Or the 150 mile, 10000 foot climbing ride that is the RAMROD (Grizzled hot and tired!)
People ask me why I would want to punish myself like this!
But then there is my buddy John, who, for fun, participates in Marathons, Triathalons, and Iron Man events. Not once in a while, but multiple times per year. Working his personal goal to bag one in every state.
Do I think he is crazy? Hell yes, every single time I see a photo of him crossing the finish line. But never once have I asked him why. Because it makes sense to me.
Michelle and Kim (and now Heidi) have done many halfmarathons together.
I know people ask them why they would want to walk 13.1 miles! I am not one those who ask!
AND I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a bit more about Heidi, she is a powerlifting goddess! Without question she could lift 2 of me!
Again, nuts! But nope I don’t need to ask why.
This question of WHY has been asked, I am sure, since Ook Ook, one of the first cave man, decided he wanted to see what was top of the big hill instead of hanging out in the cave with his buddies. “Ook Ook, you nuts, why you do crazy shit?? Come eat mastadon hash!”
The most famous answer came from George Mallory in 1923. He was asked by a reporter from the New York Times why he wanted to climb Everest. “Because it’s there!” was a perfect answer. (He never came back from the mountain, and there are many who believe he may have been the first to summit, decades before Edmund Hillary!)
So, why do I do the stuff I do?
OK, first and almost foremost, is to keep from getting fat. I LOVE to eat!!
If I didn’t ride the miles I ride, instead of Mountainstroh, I would seriously be known at “Fat Tony!” In fact, with our rainy weather, I have been struggling HARD to get outside!! The chunkiness is starting to show.
But, if that is all I did it for, I would just put myself through the torture of spinbitch for a spin class or go to the gym instead of riding in the rain.
For the record I HATE both the gym and spinclass….
I continue to challenge myself for a variety of reasons other than not getting fat.
I enjoy it. True, there are times I am NOT having a whole lot of fun at the time! There can be a tough hill, ugly headwind, searing heat (or all three at once) and I start wondering why the HELL I am doing it. In fact, that was going through my head when this was taken
But soon after there is a downhill that I can ride like the wind
Or a tail wind that is pushing me along.
Or an amazing view that makes the climb worth while
This can make you forget an ugly climb pretty damn quickly.
Then, of course, I’d be lying if part of why I do it is for the bragging rights!
My most recent trainee at work just couldn’t be convinced I will ride 100 miles just for fun, and then mow the grass afterwards (which isn’t fun!) I love being able to look at a map and know that (in a section at a time, of course) I have ridden from Vancouver Canada to California.
Anytime I an at the coast, I remember the times I passed through the town on the bike and how much I loved it
I can look through the scrap-book
or the journal and remember some of the biggest rides I’ve ever done.
As I drive along the coast or in the mountains, I can look at the road and know that, given the time, I could saddle up the bike and pedal anywhere my car can go. Knowing, I would probably be able to see SO much more from the bike.
So in short, I do it because I can, because I like it, because its good for me and because it leaves me with memories that will carry me through the rocking chair years!
AND I really don’t want to be called Fat Tony!
So to all my friends I have mentioned here, Michelle, Kim, Heidi and John, keep doing the crazy crap you do, because you can!!
Like the wind folks!