Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Munga 2018 - Beyond the How

This time next week I'll be on my bike inching my way across the Karoo. I'm looking forward to it.

I've spent the last few years writing this blog to help people get a handle on what it takes to race endurance events. The feedback from riders has been positive.

However, there are some, including people in my own riding circle who question the wisdom of me giving away all "my secrets". Firstly, they are not my secrets, they are a composite of what I have observed in other people with a dash of my own experiences.

At 58 I'm fortunate that I haven't yet exceeded my racing use-by-date. Even though I haven't achieved anything great on two wheels I hope to leave a legacy of inspiring people to take on their own adventures. I really am an ordinary rider who punches above their weight because I am driven by a compelling Why.

Over the years I have been awestruck by the exploits of certain riders where their achievements ignited my imagination and got me to stretch my boundaries. Their achievements became my goals. And those goals became my achievements. As an ordinary cyclist my achievements resonate with the average rider who can then imagine their own possibilities and then my achievements became their goals and the cycle continues.

Over time my competitors became my friends and their generosity in how to tackle endurance races made me a better rider. In a sport characterised by "giving away" tactics and techniques all I have done is attempt to codify tried and tested techniques and make them available to a wider audience.

I stumbled into cycling at 45 and within a year I had entered my first major race. It was an inauspicious start to my cycling adventures. The circumstances were a little bizarre. The guy at my local bike shop mentioned that he knew someone who was looking for a riding partner for a race that was scheduled to start in 2 weeks. My first words were, "Sure, that sounds great." The next words were, "What race is it?", closely followed by, "Cape Epic, what's that?"

The following year I entered my first Freedom Challenge Race Across South Africa and it had a profound effect on me. My blog started there. The rest of the story is there to read.

I've dedicated the bulk of the last few years addressing the How's of endurance racing. What I haven't touched on is the Why. That's not something I can answer for you. My Why probably doesn't come close to matching yours. The How of racing is the chassis and wheels of the car. The Why is the engine. Without a Why your knowledge of the How's might get you on your bike but it's the Why that energises the experience and feeds your soul.

It's not all about winning. You need to decide the purpose of your Why. For some there's no philosophical reason and they default to Why Not, and that's okay. But I suspect there will come a time when Why Not runs its course and they are left wondering why they do what they do. Some falter in their commitment to riding and move on to something else and that's also okay. Others take stock, grab hold and stay the course driven by a compelling Why.

If you're doing the Munga next week you'll have lots of time to figure out your Why. If you've already got a Why then you can spend the time polishing it. It's hard to imagine that someone would enter a race as hard as the Munga purely on the basis of Why Not.

1 comment:

Stefan le Roux said...

Brilliant Mike!!! See you on the start line next week!!!