It started out well. It ended well. Incomplete but complete enough. Not quite finished but above and beyond.
I was looking for a challenge to motivate some riding. It was dark all the time, it was wet all the time. It was hard to want to go out and ride.
I started following @iamTedKing on social media after Bikepacking.com shared his incredible record on the Arkansas High Country Race. It is one of the great aspects of social media that you can experience a world so far removed from your own.
And then I came home and wrote a caption…
Unexpectedly, I ended up rhyming. It was fun.
Dark nights, bright lights.
Clear skies, a rare surprise.
Up onto the bridge,
what you can hear,
11 Christmas Songs
to raise festive cheer.
Only 10 days remain,
Tomorrow, ride again.
I had set a precedent though so I had to continue.
Some were good, some were not.
Some were long and others short.
As it is with life, and with rides.
You just have to dive right in, see what you can do.
This was all as new to me as it is to you.
On the sixth day, or day 7 of the countdown, the challenge was 7 decorated houses. However, this day also coincided with the winter solstice and hence Restrap’s Solstice Century challenge.
I was in deep and loving the riding, how could I refuse?
The next day I didn’t feel like riding. I didn’t jump back in later either.
A failed challenge? Well it depends on how you look at it.
The goal was to have fun and ride consistently. I was lacking motivation in the dark, wet Scottish winter. In that sense it was a huge success. I enjoyed every ride and I rode every day. It culminated in a brilliant day out on the road bike and my fastest ever century ride.
However, every challenge has it’s parameters. You accept them when you start. You take it on with full knowledge of the end point. You start with the intention of finishing. Every time you don’t finish, you’re laying the seed in your mind, the acceptability of not finishing. The freedom to give up when you’ve had enough. The option to identify as a casual rider, not as a racer.
Is that what you want?