The struggling cyclist.

Before I explain where I am let me mention where I came from.
I was always an outsider to sports. I had the determination and heart but I never had the raw skill. In golf they use the term L.O.F.T. Google it . Baseball, football, soccer, whatever, I was not really very good. I came into cycling after an injury. It was meant to be rehab for my back. That lead to the idea of commuting. Well, what it would lead to  was an obsession. At my lowest point I was fighting multiple addictions and cycling was what kept me going the streight path. I began racing and riding daily. I would race for a few years for a few teams and even for myself (unattached) when I lacked the fitness to race for a team .

Fast forward 10 years, I’m now married, a father of 3, and I have a dog to boot. In many ways I have what I want. I still have the drive to go out and test myself when I’m riding but there are many weeks that I just can’t ride, some weeks I’m just too tired, and yet others I’m not willing to make the sacrifice to get a ride in.  The fire is still there but the time/motivation/will is at times lacking. I set goals but get confronted with realities. Sure I could ride Saturday but one son has practice and the other has a soccer game. Did I mention my two-year old? So my choices are 4am ride or no ride. I made my choice before I typed it.

I don’t think I’m alone in my position nor do I think I need a small violin playing “sad romance”. What I need is a spark, something to convince myself to ride when it’s difficult to get going . As it turned out that spark that made me want to ride was a ride. That and something I heard on a podcast, something about second degree fun. It’s fun, just not from the idea or start. Like a climb, not really fun as a idea but as you get to the top, you can look back at the climb as a good time. Albeit a miserable, painful, good time .

So what keeps you going? Do you ever need a break or time to miss riding? Are you the type of rider who just wishes they had more time to ride? Let me know as that’s one of my motivations (I love hearing about others passion to ride).


  1. Mike Tilman

    I just started riding because we had only one car…kind of a low point in our marriage. 40 years old, moved my wife and three kids into my in-laws house, lost my fancy sales job; loserville. Yeah, definitely some second-degree fun. Started out of necessity, but it kind of helped me win. I miss it; I’m only .1 mile from my job now. I miss it a lot.

    My motivation was, I have to go to work. My job is closer, more desirable, and I have have two cars. Somehow, I feel like I’m not winning as much now.

  2. Manny (Post author)

    Thanks for the comment Mike, sometimes the duality of our successes is very grass is greener. I’m super glad to hear you moved out of loserville, is there still time to find a ride outside of commuting?

  3. Mike Tilman

    It’s the same thing you found; 4AM. I just haven’t been…whatever-enough…to drag my carcass out of bed! I got 100 miles in last year. (For comparison, commuting let me hit almost 3,000 miles annually.)

    I’m finding it harder to prioritize when it’s just recreational. Going to work is ALWAYS a priority; so scheduling was easy.

  4. torie

    I’ve been a commuter for almost a decade (~5mi commute), but a few years ago I started doing more official rides. Between a ride and the next signup, I definitely default to just commuting… but for me, $200+ is no small sum just to forgo a race, so it kickstarts the miles again.

    I recently rode in my first El Tour de Tucson and this year, I signed up for RAGBRAI. Since this is my first touring ride, I put in weekly reminders “23 Weeks to RAGBRAI” and, so far, it’s been enough of a sense of urgency to stick with my training plan. That being said, I’m only a few weeks in, so it’s still early.

  5. Manny (Post author)

    Torie, that’s been a way to stay focused for me as well in the past. Knowing you paid for your spot is great motivation for me to show up ready. I hope you stay on your plan. Keep me posted on your progress. If you have any questions about training I have what I’ve learned from racing as well as some co workers who still race regularly.

  6. Dan

    I live on top of a hill I can’t climb, and that hill has become a wall that keeps me from riding. Even though there is an easy solution - drive down to the trailhead at the bottom of the hill and then bike to work, or for fun, or shopping, whatever - I still find it tough to get over that wall.

    When I do make it out, it is because I know that my mood will improve almost immediately after jumping on the saddle. I need to remember that feeling more often.

  7. PStu

    I started commuting by bike (9.7 mi. each way) due to less reliable public transportation and needing to get in shape for a big backpacking trip. Now I dislike it when i can’t ride into work due to weather or an early offsite meeting. Standing on a platform, waiting on the subway leaves me feeling restless, knowing that I would be x miles into my commute while the train still hasn’t arrived. With roughly 100 miles a week in riding, including some hills, I’m in the best shape of my life.

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