Essay: Ride more, worry less

By Jeffrey Stern

What do we know about even the most well thought out plans? Well, they more often than not don’t pan out as expected. But only if you let them derail your training, fun, life or work should they cause any concern.

We all want to ride 10, 15, 20 hours per week to be well-prepared for our long adventure weekends or races this summer. At the same time though, we know how rarely this happens. Spilled milk is inevitable in life. Sickness? Yeah, that too.

Sometimes there’s just nothing you can do.

And by nothing, we mean first and foremost don’t even bother worrying about foiled plans. It will do you absolutely no good in the short term or long run.

Work sucked this week. You stayed late every night and still can’t get ahead in the game. Zero rides, all work and no fun at all. What a drag, but you have the weekend as your salvation–there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Then you miss the early morning meet-up at the local coffee spot to head out on the Saturday training loop with your friends because the dog escaped last night, found some delicious trash that has now, 8 hours later, ended up in a steaming pile on the doormat and your 3-year-old has waddled over to it and started picking at it, inching it closer to her mouth…and now, you’re late. Well, you’re not late because no one is actually waiting anyway.

“Damn man!” You think to yourself, “I can’t catch a break even on the weekend.” After cleaning up the mess, the house and then yourself, it’s nearly 9 am and you still haven’t had your breakfast or coffee and you’re leaning to just throwing in the towel on the day’s ride.

“It’s not even worth it,” you mumble to your significant other, “I’ll just try to ride tomorrow,” you say as you sulk your way over to the couch with a box of stale cookies, contemplating a trip to the donut store for a baker’s dozen to drown your sorrow in.

But no, that’s not the answer! Even though the week may not have gone as planned and the weekend is off to a, well, less than desirable start than expected, look on the bright side: it’s spring. The days are getting longer and there’s still time to ride, albeit by yourself, but a ride nonetheless.

Time is your greatest asset and worrying about lost time is about the biggest waste of said asset as possible. On your solo ride, while not worrying about missing out, you may discover a new road or trail you’ve never been on before. You might even find another solo rider who had a similarly off week, and voila, an instant friendship is born.

The point is, you don’t know what may happen, but if you don’t give it a chance and spend all your mental power fretting about what could have been, then nothing good will ever happen. That’s a tried-and-true fact.

Throw the plans, and your attachment to the plans, right out the window so you can spend less of your mental energy worrying about what you missed, and more of it enjoying the opportunities you do have to ride, whenever or wherever and with whoever it might be.

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