Thursday, August 23, 2012

Bloatmeal Brag Blog

Consider this your notice that the following post contains more quotation marks than I usually allow myself in a month's time. There is no reason for this, save that once I noticed their frequency and became annoyed, I obviously had to insert as many as possible. "Enjoy." Now, on with the blog.

I don't know what is happening. I used to read books--books! a lot of them--and do other "desk stuff" at home, such as keeping tidy notes about the books I'd read and making doodles in the margins of those notes. Now, instead of reading, I sign up for stuff. I've signed up for several bike races, such as this, this, and this, and am thinking about signing up for this, too. I'm not sure why I'm signing up for these things. I'm not sure I can finish them, and if I can I won't finish them quickly. They are not "fun." In fact, they are as senseless as eating a month's worth of breakfast in one sitting.

I don't like reading many of the blogs written by endurance breakfast eaters because they try to make it sound macho and tough, as though it's really something to have eaten ten pounds of bloatmeal before most "ordinary" people have made coffee.

"I ate this in the time it takes most chumps to eat one pancake."

On some endurance mountain bikers' blogs, you can read "sentences" much like the following. "It was 11PM, when most people were thinking about bed, but I was getting ready for an all-night suffer fest across two mountain ranges and up 25,000 feet of climbing sleep be damned! With a sore left knee to. Little did I know that I'd win the race by only a measly two hours, I was shooting for five!"

Many blogging riders take the "aren't I silly" approach, which leads to humble-bragging. "Sane people would never even attempt a 150-mile Race Without Tires, much less win it! I guess my lack of common sense is what makes me so unbelievably tough and unbeatable."

However, endurance biking really isn't anything to brag or humble-brag about. No, it's not easy to do some of the things endurance bikers do, but, arguably, someone who donates ten dollars to feed the hungry has done "more," at least on a metric of doing things that "matter." As I don't believe riders who finish long races have proven anything, I don't believe I have anything to prove by racing in them.

So why have I signed up for these things?

I've thought a lot about it, and I really have no idea. Here are some options.

1. Boredom. People get into and nerd out on almost everything. Under other circumstances, one might compulsively enter mud hut building competitions instead, and nerd out with one's buddies about mixing mud with aftermarket pebbles and straw. I live in Colorado and work in a bike shop ergo I compulsively ride my bike and nerd out about head tube angles and freehub body engagements. This is bad. Boredom, as a motivator, is anti-passion.

2. The sensation of moving forward. Perhaps the more stagnant one feels in their day-to-day, the longer they have to ride before the brain is tricked into believing that progress, on some front, is being made. Since I'm not climbing a corporate ladder I'm going to climb thousands of vertical feet instead.

3. Dirt in my lungs.

4. Dirt between my toes.

5. Dirt in my teeth.

6. My teeth in the dirt.

But I think I might be done racing. More on that some other day.

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