I quite often on my daily commute see that "Old Guy" who wants to remain in shape enduring what appears to be a world of pain on his road bike. He clearly isn't having any fun by trying to keep in shape and it often leaves me begging the question. Is it really worth it?
Now rewind back a few years when said "old guy" is gearing up for his regular, weekly kilometer smashing road bike ride. He sets out with his riding buddies and isn't phased about what lies ahead. Arrogant drivers who care little for any form of cyclist, a desire to ride a portion of his loop in a chronic headwind or even his favorite section of high heart rates and low cadence smashing. All of that for a Large, single shot latte' and a few pastries at their local cafe' and a few tales of how Baza was the weakest link today.
This continues for years until a couple of his mates drop off and "retire" from their usual banter and lycra clad, weekly skinny tyre festival. Gradually, one by one after grand kids and just cafe's (no riding) the group becomes a pair before finally, it's down to being Hans Solo.
Attacking that loop is still well achievable and just as fun, isn't it? Sure the knee's ache a little more on the long climbs, the lungs can still function but at a considerably, heart rate reflective pace and those views aren't noticed just as much as they once used to be.
Now, quickly change codes and jump on a mountain bike. We have lower "granny gears", a much more upright position that enables the rider to see everything while breathing steadily and taking in that fresh, forest air. We still have a hearty bunch of people riding with us well into our 60's and hell, there is even a few sub 30 "whipper snappers" joining in.
We have a much more superior form of cycling then don't we? After all, we make regular stops and we don't care who was fastest up that hill, in-fact, it's often "cool" to be mid-pack. We enjoy any weather, the views are even fantastic but we [Mountain bikers] all can't workout why anyone would like to be out on the road enduring torture from all angles in overly revealing attire that lets face it, doesn't really show our bits just quite how we want to.
So why do these people continually ride in the category of cyclists that cause masses of angst with motorists while simultaneously enduring physical and mental pain? The answer is quite simple.
We are Human.The brain ticks in ways we will never understand as individuals. The fact that someone is clearly in pain while still trying to achieve a personal record in an age category shouldn't detract them, or us, it is simply fuel for our brains and well-beings regardless of what code we are partaking in.
So to you, Mr specialized I see regularly doing it tough on my way home, I salute you for keeping the passion and not giving into pressures from stereotypes. The reason we all ride or even play chess for that matter is to settle our minds and to eat what ever mental food we desire. We ride because we want to be free'd from our daily routines for just a small moment in time unlocking our mind to our happy place even if that place is utter torture.
So is it really worth it? You bet it is.....