One thing 2020 is good for is making you take a step back and really evaluate what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Especially as an athlete. Especially one who isn’t a professional and getting paid to pedal on two wheels as fast as possible.
Remember how uncertain things were back in early March? Remember how much denial and hope we had that things wouldn’t be canceled, that life as we knew it would continue to exist? And as we tried to adapt and make sense of all that uncertainty, it created more angst.
Pretty much everything was thrown out the window by April.
We all saw waves of race cancelations, postponements, deferments. If you were focused on just one peak race of the season, or had goals that only included performing at specific races, I bet you struggled with a sense of loss more than others. Grief is experienced even if someone doesn’t die. Grief happens when we lose something we hold near and dear to us and suddenly, it’s gone.
Here’s the thing: when you first start racing/training/riding, all you could probably think about was conquering things. Your first 20 mile ride, 50 miles, 100 miles, first time up some epic hill, etc. Then maybe you started focusing on how many people you could pass. Then you started looking into racing and next thing you know you’re on a fast track to advance through the racing categories as quickly as possible. You’re in your third year of racing with 60 races under your belt and are now contemplating which bigger races you want to go back to so you can improve your result.
Somewhere in your racing career, this drive and desire to be better, faster, stronger and beat everyone starts to lose its appeal. Maybe you realize that you have preferences for specific races and start focusing on those. And yet something is missing. If you’re in this sport for the long term, you start to notice you get more satisfaction by collectively winning with your teammates. Suddenly standing on top of the podium no longer matters – just as long as someone from your team is represented.
And that my friends, is when cycling really gets sweet.
If you enjoy what you do, on and off the bike, your joie de vivre is that much richer. And yes, this applies to more than just cycling. It’s perfectly normal (and expected!) that your joy and the reasons you cycle change. Being able to shift and adapt as human beings is part of having an open mindset. Your motivation becomes more fluid. With so many things out of our control, you can now sleep well at night knowing that you’re in touch with what fills you up.
The moment your focus shifts from outcome goals to process goals, you hit the cycling jackpot. No matter what type of rider you are, once you start banking joyful riding experiences you’ll be hooked for life. Take a moment to create daily positive experiences and your “why cycling” grows tenfold.