Some of my bike friends are busy dreaming of rides and races they’d like to do this year. Some have a negative view of racing and won’t participate in an event with that in the title. Others I doubt would participate without it. I suppose it depends on how competitive you believe yourself to be, and what you want out of the experience. Is cycling something you mainly only do with friends? Or is it something you do more for yourself? Maybe for you it’s only a means of transportation with an occasional trail ride added. There is no wrong answer.
Some get tired of the type of racing/riding they’ve been doing, and need something different to motivate them. That’s why we see ever longer cycling endurance events. When 100 miles is too easy, some of us have to try 150, 200, even 300 mile events, and on gravel, and dirt. And multi day/week races through the mountains and deserts, across lakes, across the country, you name it. Someone will sign up to do it. To see how far one can push oneself, chasing that ultimate experience. Touring, too, calls you to experience the unknown, the ever new. None of this comes without first having a dream, and no dream can become reality without preparation. Some thrive on having a training regimen. They know it will get them where they want to be. Others approach the process more organically. The goal is irresistible and we are drawn to it, doing what it takes to get there.
Some start as athletes, others don’t, but may accidently become one (raising my hand here, I hated sports). You may not know you secretly are one until you get hooked. So how can that happen? For me I started commuting ever longer distances to my work all over the city. I’d always ridden a bike, but didn’t consistently ride it everywhere, as I do now. It hadn’t occurred to me to do so. If I could ride 15 minutes to a job, why not 20, 30, 45, 60 minutes, or more? I didn’t know clubs or racing existed until I participated in the National Bike Challenge. At that point, I learned races existed and racing then became irresistible. Though I barely knew anyone who did it, and they were all younger than I was, I was hooked.
So what are some other ways to get hooked on riding? Besides commuting to work, how about the Lincoln Trail-A-Thon? “The Lincoln Trail-A-Thon is a challenge to ride, run, jog or walk all the trails within the Lincoln city limits in 2021. When you finish you will have covered 78 miles of trails.” It was so popular last year, they bought it back. On the Great Plains Trails Network website it says:
In 2021, as you complete each trail section you’ll record the accomplishment with us and receive a badge (a 2.25 inch diameter collectible trail button). We will also have monthly activities that are being developed and will be announced soon. Click here to see our first button designs with more coming in January! This fun challenge was started to inspire individuals to be healthier by getting outdoors to enjoy the amazing trails system in Lincoln. But even more, it is to (1) GIVE back, (2) EXPLORE new trails and (3) CONQUER a common goal. Go to gptn.org to register.
When the pandemic eases, group rides and races will come back. Think of social events like Nacho rides on the MoPac to Eagle, Tour De Brew, and Trail Trek, and races from the Solstice Gravel grind to the always challenging Bohemian Sto Mil and Gravel Worlds, with it’s new longer addition of a 300 mile route!
Whatever kind of rider you are, or wish to be, start dreaming now of the rides to come on 2021, and prepare accordingly.