Before a group ride, I’m always a bit uptight.
Nervous I won’t keep up or worse, that I’ll get dropped. Worried I won’t be able to do my share of pulling. Concerned that I’ll give too much in the beginning and run out of fuel. Bothered I won’t be the king of the mountain at least once during the ride.
You see, I crave for the maillot à pois. Wanna get up there first.
But on the other hand, I get upset if I don’t win one sprint sign. Yes, I also enjoy the green! Make up your mind little girl!
You see, I’m 5 feet, 4 inches tall, weigh 114 lbs and I still want to win sprints against guys that have quads 3 times bigger than mines. Sure I can be explosive and powerful but can’t last very long!
Can’t be a climber and a sprinter. Not on the same day anyway!
But why? Why do I put so much pressure on myself for a simple non-official group ride?
Because I’m competitive. Gotta perform. Do my best all the time. Be one of the guys. And why not, beat a few of them while I’m at it!
Why can’t I just be average? It wouldn’t be as demanding! I could just ride, chat, take the wheel in front of me and follow. Just sit there and watch people attack around me without reacting.
Really? You can do that? Hmm. And missing all the fun and excitement of a sprint or a mountain top win?
Cycling is not always about winning, of course! Not about pushing big gears all the time either. And never about leaving someone behind for good.
Noooo. But for me, it’s about strategy. Like a chess game. Knowing my strengths and especially my limits (otherwise hello injuries!) Reading my opponent’s intentions. Carefully guessing their moves. Being wise enough to work with others. And, at a given time, having the skills and power to burst out to counterattack! And sometimes, even get that polka jersey …as long as we high-five each other and then continue as a unified group.
Challenging and fun!