Sometimes we get a little too caught up in competition. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s healthy and I have a healthy competitive streak in me. Which is why I love Strava. Not so much to see how I line up against other riders, but more to see my own progress, whether I set a new PR or how much I have progressed since the first time I rode a segment. But we do lose something when we begin to let Strava or Garmin or any other device rule our ride.
We lose what made us start. That moment when you reach the top of a pass and can look down below at what you have accomplished. The moment when you become one with your bike on the descent. The scent of crisp clean fall air, leaves on the ground, rain on the approach. The ride becomes less about the moment and more about how quickly it can be done.
Yesterday, I put my PR goals to the side,and rode for the pure love of it. Maybe it’s the impending storm over the mountain range that made me realize how little time I have left on my bike this fall, or maybe its the building stress and anxiety that isn’t pedaled away while I push to break through barriers. I needed to stop confusing physical exhaustion with mental release. So I rode, away from the building storm as best I could. I ascended Log Hill Mesa through intermittent rain and shine, and when I reached the top, I headed towards the remaining pocket of sun. As I rode north, a rainbow lit up to the east, and not just any rainbow, but a bright vibrant band full of color against the light blue sky. I turned and rode towards it.
I reached the end of the road and saw the end of the rainbow dipping down towards my hometown below, and in that moment, remembered what had made me love cycling so much when I began. I remembered what pushed me to ride Dallas Divide and Red Mountain Pass (part of it so far) and Colorado National Monument. It wasn’t for a Strava segment of PR or to be Queen of the Mountain. It was for the beauty of where I live and the ability to slow down and truly see what was right in front of me. To breather deeply and truly and fully and be in a perfect moment.
So while I will never stop chasing my goals, I will always try to remember to take a moment to chase rainbows as well.
As always, this amazing ride was made possible by by Trek Madone and a water bottle full of Skratch Labs hydration mix.