Words by Adam Perry
In a hyper-athletic town like Boulder, Colorado, it’s never realistic to judge yourself by any metric related to riding a bike. There will always be someone with a nicer bike than you, someone who looks far better in cycling shorts than you, and yes, someone faster than you.
Just last year I was gaining confidence as a long-distance climber while riding Sunshine Canyon to Gold Hill–one of the few climbs I’ve done that almost compares to the Swiss heartbreakers Susten Pass and Grosse Scheidegg. I was shocked while bombing back to Boulder when I noticed a young guy on a one-speed cruiser (in flip flops, no less) gently meandering up one of the steepest switchbacks in town.
Then, on a cool April morning this year, I was climbing up Super Flagstaff , another famous Boulder climb, when I heard the words “On your left!” and was passed by a white-haired man who appeared to be approaching 70 years old. He was confidently spinning up Flagstaff ’s idyllic, unmistakably Colorado turns on a silver touring bike that looked almost as old as he was.
Recently I saw a quote that said–if I remember correctly– “When I see a cyclist who is riding faster than me, I think he or she must not be going as far.” That’s pretty much my attitude. Biking is about the experience, the journey, the comfort and the discomfort, the meditation and the challenge. The more you focus on the moment, rather than the destination, the farther you’ll go. The only real prize for me at the end of a ride is the feeling of finishing something I didn’t think I could.