I haven’t been cycling long enough to make a grand statement like “the Festive 500 made me fall in love with the bike again.” But it sure did make me realize just what makes this sport so special. But not at first.
When I heard word of the challenge – ride 500 kilometers between Christmas and New Years – I reacted with a half-hearted and non-committal, “why not.” There are so many excuses for not riding over the holidays that I knew there would be an easy out, if and when I’d come to my senses to stick to shortbread cookies and roast turkey leftovers. Maybe it would be the Canadian Winter. Maybe it would be family commitments. Whatever the reason, I didn’t think I’d feel guilty about spending time off the bike.
And then the challenge started. Each morning I’d look at the weather, and set goals for myself. Some days I’d surpass them, other days I’d fall short. But as the kilometers added up, I felt like I owed it to myself to finish.
But then a funny thing happened. I realized that this whole time, my rides had been about getting to 500km above all else. Including actually enjoying myself. It sounds like a trite cliche (because it is a trite cliche) but the destination had become more important than the journey. This narrow focus on collecting miles made riding brainless, and kind of a chore. To fix that, I just went for a ride. I didn’t care about “segments” or PRs, my only focus was enjoying myself. Which meant going further than I ever have, to places I had never been. It meant laughing out loud to myself when it started snowing. And it meant witnessing the most beautiful winter sunset I’ve seen all year, and not caring one bit that I didn’t bring my camera along to #proveit.
And that’s how I made it to 500km. And that’s what I’m going to take into 2015.