Strava Statistics Show Serious Stuff
Here’s what I wrote in Strava after my fifth 20-mile ride in a row this week:
In 2015, I rode my first two charity rides, 50 and 57 miles. Adding up all the training rides from cue sheets and using Google Maps to figure my daily commute to work and other rides, I estimated about 3,000 miles for that year (closer to 3,500 but I round down to be safe).
Tonight, I just hit 17,017 in Strava from the very end of 2015 to today, June 28, 2019. So that means I have bicycled 20,000 miles in 4.5 years. Not much to some, a lot for others, but for me, it’s a friggin’ ton of work, time and yes, suffering. But it’s also pretty awesome, in my humble opinion. Once in a while it’s OK to toot one’s own horn, and this is one of them. No ebikes, ever, either.
A big thanks to YOU if you’ve been part of my journey. I’m still a work in progress, and to make it to 20,000 verified miles this year, I have some catching up to do. We shall see. More on my blog, https://ADudeAbikes.com. Enjoy the ride, be kind to others and to yourself, and sometimes make the miles matter.
Respectfully submitted, A Dude Abikes
To celebrate, I stopped and got myself some high visibility shoelaces for my Pearl Izumi flat-bottom clip-in shoes.
Back in January of 2018, the Austin paper did a profile on me hitting 10,000 miles. (It didn’t count the 3,000 estimated from 2015.) To be honest, the numbers both mean everything and not so much simultaneously. I’ve been at this a while now. Every mile matters, they are meaningful. They represent time, effort, choice, commitment, sacrifice, suffering and also fun, enjoyment, achievement, adventure. Sometimes shared, often not. Being in nature, exercising, not being in a car or sitting at home watching the telly (and I do plenty of that). Seeing things, meeting people, thinking thoughts.
But over time, they pile up. And the rides and numbers become kind of amorphous, they blend together into a sort of statement, a body of work, or maybe a collective personal best. Some people do this mileage in a much shorter time; some take longer, and many will never do it. But comparison to others is definitely not the point. I’m comparing myself to me: how and what am I doing compared to me a year ago? And even that comparison could be harsh. I am doing my best. Sometimes, that sucks. But I’ve been spending a lot of time in the saddle, that’s for damn sure. From 2016 to now, it’s almost 1,600 hours or 65 whole days on a bike. It’s not nuthin’.
Has it improved my life? Made me a better person? Increased health? Helped the earth and society? I would say yes to all. But to what extent? Well, it’s not really for me to judge. Just like you, I’m a work in progress. I claim no moral superiority, athletic (or fathletic) prowess, or spiritual wisdom. I am still overweight, I still get cranky, and I could do a lot more to advocate and educate for better bicycling and to raise more donations for good causes. (Though encouraging people to give over $12,000 in six charity rides is pretty good.)
The Buddha would remind me that like all human accomplishments, just as the nature of life itself, everything arises to pass away. The Strava maps are like Tibetan monk sand mandalas…. to be swept away with the passing of time. Attachment to the result is a delusion. “Pride goeth before the fall, says the Judeo-Christian bible. And really, isn’t the sporting accomplishment of one dude really insignificant to matters of war and peace, ecological decimation, not to mention the wider universe?
Today, US Women’s Soccer Team beat France to advance to the semi-finals of the World Cup, 2-1. The player who scored both goals is Megan Rapinoe, a seasoned pro, class act who also happens to be proud to say she will not go to the White House to take pictures with the homophobe-in-chief.
I’m in no way comparing myself to her. But I think many of us who have goals and make progress towards them can recognize something knowing in her smile. With the years of dedication and sacrifice, winning sometimes is just inevitable. But win or lose, she is a star, pro, role model and even shero. So I want to salute her and the team for their dedication to their sport. It’s inspiring. And it doesn’t hurt to have a win now and then.
But for her, her teammates, you, or me, what happens at the end of all this work, whether it’s soccer, cycling, writing, or whatever? The end could arrive any instant, so what truly matters? Well, that’s different for everyone, but in some ways I think it’s pretty simple and universal:
- Breathe in, breathe out.
- Focus on BEING HERE NOW, in the present moment — NOT some big goal — and you may find that you’ll eventually get there. (If not, you’ve made progress, so be proud of that.)
- Be kind to others and to yourself.
- Watch out for potholes, loose dogs, snakes, etc.
- Keep the rubber side down.
- Life is a team sport.
- Leave the trail better than how you found it.
- Enjoy the ride.
And to paraphrase The Most Interesting Man in the World Jonathan Goldstein, the actor in the Dos Equis beer commercials, “Stay thirsty, my friends.” Actually, you should hydrate. Perhaps what I mean was better said by Michael Biehn’s character Hicks in the movie Aliens, “Stay frosty and alert.” After all, the world needs more lerts. And bike riders.
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