On Wednesday night, I went to the RUSA website and signed up for the 200km Winters Brevet on Saturday.

Last weekend’s long ride, while not nearly as long as the Winters ride tomorrow, was emboldening. While I felt exhausted by the end, I didn’t experience any pain or numbness that might portend trouble if I were to spend a longer time in the saddle.

But what pushed me over the edge, r/e committing to the upcoming long ride, was the encouragement I got from others.

To my surprise, when I told people this week that I was thinking of crushing my previous distance record by doing a 126-mile ride this weekend, the reaction wasn’t, “Are you out of your fucking mind?!” but usually some variant on, “Cool, you’ll be fine, and here’s some advice.”

Steph from the bicycle club said, “Just be sure to eat before you’re hungry.”

Eric H said, “It’s amazing how much farther you go than you think you can.”

Matt said “I love things like that.” Barb said “I’m glad you’re coming.” The guy at the bike shop asked whether I’d checked the weather report and said good luck. Jesse told me I’ll be all right as long as I find a small group to pedal with and then stay close to them no matter what.

(The realist in the group, perhaps, he added: “You are going to be in some pain before the day is over.”)

What I find myself wondering is, do these confident people know something I don’t know about what’s possible in sport? Are they sensing something in me, either that I can do it, or that I really want to try? Or is this just a thoughtless psychological law at work, one that decrees that it’s a lot more fun to say “Dooooo it!” than it is to advise against?

Tomorrow may tell. If nothing else, I’ll have hours of pedaling time to think in detail about why I wanted to let myself be persuaded to try.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.