My daughter Jessica and I helped Ryan out at the Naches overnight control on the Mountain 600K this weekend. In addition to it being a nice time together I had hoped that she would get to understand a bit of the Rando experience … my family tends to think I’m a bit nuts and thought this might help give me some slack. So after the Control closed and we were in the car, I was curious about her observations. When she said “They’re miserable, Dad!” I went into denial.
Well, yes, they’re exhausted, physically drained, and some are in pain … feet, butt, muscles – there was a run on Ibuprofen…and I suppose many appear mentally wiped … some are almost catatonic, dazed. And yes, we’ve had at least three riders taken to the hospital on long brevets this year, including one at this overnight. So perhaps they appear miserable, but they’re not really … I’m not when I ride … or am I? Are we miserable? Why do we do this to ourselves? Is it “because it feels so good when we stop (well, not right away)?.”
I don’t think so.
I ride these long brevets because of the challenge – both physical and mental – and the adventure. I ride because of the beauty I get to see. I ride because of the camaraderie – the shared experiences, such as the ditch nap or Post Office snooze. I ride because it makes me feel good – in spite of the pain. I ride because it’s fun – and being a bit miserable is probably part of that in a perverse way. So, yes, I suppose they are miserable, but loving it!