Thursday, January 26, 2012

Get To Have To

Chase:  "One of those days where my ride was like pulling teeth..."

Me:  "Next time you have one of THOSE rides just come over to my house and watch my 4 kids so I can get out and have a ride. Deal?"

Chase:  "Steve, keep in mind that an off feeling day on the bike is a little different when riding goes from "get to" to "have to" :)"

Me:  "Even when you "have to" I hope you never lose at least a little bit of the "get to" as well. I don't know much about cycling, but I do know that that will make you a better "have to" cyclist."

Really though, I don't know anything about "have to" when it comes to riding my bikes. I have never "had to" ride my bikes. Not ever. I've had conversations along those lines with my wife though always trying to flesh out reasons why I "had to" go for a ride, but her and I both know that it's not a "have to" thing with me. I don't "have to" ride. I "get to" ride. There is a huge difference.

The Chase in the facebook conversation above is Chase Pinkham of the Bissell Pro Cycling Team. Riding is his job. He has to ride. It is how he gets paid. It is what he does. He's a pro cyclist that races on a pro team. For him it is a "have to." I can't imagine that. At first I think "wow how lucky is he?" And then I wonder. Really? When you "have to" do you cross that line that goes past "get to?" If you have one, do you lose the other?

I don't know on Chase's end of the spectrum because I have never "had to" so I just don't know. I hope for his sake, and the sake of all pro cyclists, that they can keep and have at least a little bit of the "get to" in their "have to." I know on my side of the spectrum it is ALL "get to." I "get to" go for rides. It is something I get to do. It is a privilege and a joy. Not a job. But I wonder - what would it be like if I could put a little "have to" in my "get to?"

The stronger and faster I have become on my bike the more fun I have found it to be. Is it possible for me to take my fun and effort it up right to that point where I am almost crossing that line from "get to" to "have to?" I'm not sure. After all I don't even really know what a kilojoule is or what a watt or two even feels like. I don't know what zones are or which one I'm in when I ride. My perceived-level-of-exertion-o-meter is not really very accurate either because most anything above a 3% average grade feels pretty hard on the bike most times. And heart rate? Who knows. Not me. I even took the computer off the old bike last year in deference to the purity of riding.

2nd from the right - lined up at the start of the 2011 Utah Tour de Donut
So how do I get more serious? I am thinking about trying to race this season. Race the crit series at RMR. This should be interesting because I don't know anything about racing or crits or anything like that. But I am imagining that putting myself into competition with other cyclists at that same beginner level will push me to improve. After all, I don't like getting my butt kicked so I figure putting my butt out there might push my "get to" a little closer to the level of "have to" which hopefully will make all my riding a little more fun for me.

I wonder: can I push myself right up to that line of "have to?" Is that possible with "get to?" I'm not sure but I'm going to find out this season. I have made up my mind that the only time I am going to pay to ride my bike is if I am going to race. I'm still going to do the Snowbird Hillclimb and the City Creek Bike Sprint because those are races. I'll probably still do the Utah Tour de Donut because that's a race. Sort of. I'm going to do the Dream Small Rides I have planned. And I'm going to add the crit series out at RMR. This should be fun. I'm going to add a little "have to" to my "get to" and I'm going to see how close to "have to" I can get.

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