Wednesday, August 20, 2008


This is going to be another one of those obvious posts, so I apologize in advance. It's just that I've been ruminating (take that, D.G.!) on this subject a lot lately and it seems like it keeps coming up. As any of you who have been reading my blog since last November when I started it, or who have gone back and read the "Introducing the Accidental Athlete" post, will know, the situation in which I find myself now is extremely puzzling to me. I'm not really sure how I am doing things like going on 45-mile bike rides just on a random Saturday or completing a race that last six hours. This is why I came up with the title "Accidental Athlete" for my blog, because I felt like it sort of happened without me realizing it was happening. (I thought the name was really clever until I found out someone else has the exact same name for their blog.) Now don't get me wrong, it's not that I think I'm a phenomenal athlete or anything. I realize that for everything I do, there's someone else who is doing something better, faster, harder. I've only just scratched the surface of the things I want to do with riding and racing. It's just that there's such a disparity between where I was and where I am that it blows my mind sometimes.

You see, for most of my life I had very little confidence in what I could actually do. And some of the things I'm doing now I didn't even know I wanted to do. It's all in your perspective. I used to think two miles was a long bike ride. Now it's barely even worth getting my bike out of the garage for. Again, I'm not counting myself among the super athletes. Although this process has given me confidence, it's also made me realistic about my abilities. I've realized that the things I am doing, though they seem incredible compared with where I was, are things that just about anyone can do if they just try.

When my non-riding (or those who just ride their bikes around the block) friends or coworkers ask me about riding, they inevitably say something like "I could never do anything like that" or "I could never ride that far, long, etc." I particularly hear those comments when I talk about DALMAC (a four- or five-day ride from Lansing to Mackinaw City, which is about 350 miles, depending on which route you choose). It makes me smile when I hear that and I think about the DALMAC I completed in 2005 after putting only about 300 miles in all summer. Granted, it was painful and there were times when it wasn't a lot of fun, but even with having that little training I made it.

I've come up with a standard response to these types of comments that I actually believe very strongly. "You really could ride that far. You just think you can't." That's the reality.

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