Sunday, January 06, 2008


As a cyclist how do I (or any of us) define ourselves? I road over 6,000 miles in 2007 most of those 5,500+ on a road bike (or at least on the road), yet I don’t consider myself a roadie. I am a mountain biker. Why do I classify myself as a type of rider when, in reality, I spend very minimal amounts of time participating in that sport?

I enjoy road rides; I even enjoy road races so it’s not as if being a roadie is all bad. The past few weeks I’ve been spending hours at a time riding on the farm roads east of Denver. Rolling hills, minimal traffic, a few cows, and lots of beer cans on the side of the road. These have been some of the most fun and peaceful rides I’ve done in years. These solo rides, and I mean solo since cars rarely pass and I only go through one town once outside of Denver, have gotten me thinking about why I define myself as a mountain biker. So far I’ve not come up with anything concrete. Sure I race the mountain bike more, but that alone shouldn’t define me. For a long time I thought it was the solitude of mountain biking, but then I realized the road rides I’d been on were more isolated and independent than most mountain bike rides.

Maybe it is the challenge of a mountain bike ride, the fact that the same trail can (and does) present different challenges each time it is ridden. A section I can ride cleanly today may pose more problems than expected tomorrow. Cleaning a section I’ve never made before on a ride is unique and a source of (selfish) pride. On the road bike the challenges are minimal; on the mountain bike they are omnipresent. A challenge allows me to explore my limits and motivates me. Creates learning opportunities that aren’t always available, maybe those opportunities are what make me thrive and cause me to define myself as a mountain biker.

1 comment:

The re-awakening of an Athlete said...

Ran across your blog. Read a little bit and I too would fall in the category I love to ride. Perhaps I'll come again