This year is fast approaching its end and I have to wonder what do I have to show for it? Fearing that I might not like the answer I find myself quickly hopping to the next thought. When I finally force myself to think about this, the truth is I have a lot to show. I got married and made a challenging career change which took up a lot of time and energy… but what makes me feel that I haven’t quite accomplished enough this year is the fact that cycling took a back seat.
There were no big races to focus on, to train for and dream about. I went for the odd ride when I could squeeze it in, but there was no looming cycling challenge that both daunted and excited me at the same time.
Recently I had a conversation with a fellow dirt diva about how wonderful cycling is as a sport. The beauty of it is that we all ride for different reasons and with a different purpose, yet it adds so much value to our lives, regardless of the purpose. She told me that her father, on the night of his 60th birthday party decided that he would attempt to ride his first Argus the upcoming year. He found himself two partners in crime and that same week they set off to the doctor to do all the necessary health checks. At 60, this man rode his first Argus. His wife was so inspired, that she followed suit on her 60th, which was the next year. Nowadays, they venture off to deserted mountain passes and ride their bikes on weekend getaways.
There are the men who ride to get away from their wives, and vice versa, mothers who want time out from their kids, race snakes, commuters, trail junkies, weekend warriors and those crazy guys who jump from one rock to another at the Sea Point beaches. We ride track, roads, rocks, dirt roads, jeep tracks, single tracks, trails, cross country – whatever there is on offer, you’ll find some kind of cyclist attempting to tame and conquer it or just purely enjoy it.
For me, cycling is about pushing my limits, improving myself while doing my favourite thing in the world! It gives me the opportunity to enjoy the best nature has to offer and see places that you will never reach by car or would be too tediously slow (for me) to reach by foot. I like the pace with which a bicycle allows you to explore. For you, it might be something entirely different. But one golden thread runs through it – it serves us all in some unique way.
I’ve accepted that this past year was one to focus on different elements of my life, but next year will be a year of cycling again. Maybe I’ll get a road bike to start doing morning rides to Chappies? Quite possibly, I’ll find myself another bucket list, a daunting but exciting race to enter. It will take up all my weekends for training and have my mind mulling over all things mtb permanently, but that’s the way I like it. Without it, my life feels kind of empty. Most definitely, I will continue with my pursuit to get as many people riding bikes as I can.
What will you do to make the most of riding your bike next year? I guess the bottom line is, to quote Eddy Merckx, “Ride as much or as little, as long or as short as you feel. But ride.”