Immediately after Felkerino’s and my 1000K ride, I was proud of our accomplishment, relieved that we completed what I felt was an extremely challenging course, and happy that we rode within ourselves from beginning to end.
There were several tough parts, but we did not come close to timing out and, and our bodies held strong. We took time to recover and re-hydrate during hot segments, and smartly navigated thunderstorms on the final day.
We stayed in touch with the other pre-riders to make sure we were all moving along okay. Felkerino and I were able to sleep some each night, and finished in high spirits after three of the most beautiful night rides I’ve ever had the pleasure of doing. To top it off, Felkerino put together what I thought was a helpful ride report for those who would be taking on this same challenge the following weekend.
In the immediate days after our finish, I caught up on laundry and sleep, and ran the 1000K through my head a few times. Each time, I determined we could not have done much more to have a better ride.
A week passed and Future Me paid a visit. Never a welcome guest, she just shows up and expects me to listen to her. And I always do.
The well-rested, introspective Future Me had a different view of last week’s ride. Without so much as a “good job,” Future Me bored into the many ways I could have improved my ride and our overall time.
“You shouldn’t have had that sit-down lunch on the first day. Lost at least 30 minutes by doing that. Why did you stop at that convenience store 40 miles from the overnight? At least 20 minutes down the drain.
“That second morning—what was your problem? It’s called riding a bicycle. It’s not that hard. The rain showers the final day? Seriously, they weren’t that bad. One downed tree is no excuse for a midnight finish.
“I looked at your training and your overall weekday miles were way too low. No wonder your couldn’t finish earlier. No wonder you suffered when you did.”
On and on Future Me talked. Past Me scrambled to respond to the criticism.
“Future Me, you’re living in a vaccuum. You have no recollection of the ride’s terrain, of the heat we encountered during the ride, of the rainstorms that delayed our finish on the final day, the effects of sleep deprivation, of the extra time it takes to do a pre-ride. Who are you to talk down my ride?”
Present Me watched these two Me’s go back and forth like a tennis match. Finally, she started talking too, and the others went quiet for a moment.
“It’s good to reflect on the ride and helpful to identify areas where training or the ride experience could be improved. But nothing looks the same in retrospect.
“It’s easy to look back and criticize Past Me, and to forget all the elements in play as the ride happened. It’s easy to forget the discomfort of the moment, and the feel of unrelenting hills unfurling over a layer of shortened sleep and heat. It’s easy to say more time should have been dedicated to training when you don’t consider everything else that competes for your attention.
“Like Felkerino would say, You have to trust the people who did that ride. You have to trust they did the best they could in that moment.
“You have to see your ride as just that—your ride. Honor and savor it accordingly. Don’t compare it to what others did, or to what could have been.”
Future Me went quiet and Past Me sighed in relief. Present Me showed Future Me the door, and said farewell to her with a smile. She then began to ponder the next adventure.
This was a wonderful thing to read the day after my longest (a mere 60 miles!) ride to date. I’m still congratulating myself, waiting for that critical FM voice to pipe up. Thanks to you, I know how to respond.
Future Me is SUCH a whore.
Future Me is a crotchety grandma with a bad bun in her hair and a notebook full of judgments in her hand!
I think we all have to kick Future Me in the rear at times (sometimes, even Past Me doesn’t cooperate). I’m so glad you were able to find and hold on to the good in all that you accomplished. I know I keep saying this, but I truly am amazed by your ability to do these incredible distances!