First, I'm going to start off by mentioning this is NOT a competition or open invitation for flame wars as we all have our own preferences, but more about the motivation or lack thereof. Secondly, this is probably going to be a pretty long post, so...yeah.
Back in 2010 my wife and I got MTBs and wound up joining a club about three weeks later when we saw an ad in the paper for a local club event. We showed up, met the members, and decided to join. The people in the club were cool, enthusiastic, friendly, etc. In fact, we still belong, yet haven't really participated in any events since early 2011 and pretty much "see" our friends from the club on FB. They're far more competitive than either Rachel or I, so I guess we just don't have much in common, but nonetheless, they're great people and we don't mind sending our annual $20 their way.
Most of the people in the club are into some serious roading and after trying it out on our MTBs, we were encouraged by the experience to buy roadies, so we did. We continued to participate in a few weekly rides on public roads and quickly developed a distaste for the obvious reasons; rude motorists, the dangers, etc.
Over the past few years, our "roading" has turned into strictly riding on bike paths, which is fine, but the nearest path is pretty much nothing more than a slab of asphalt in the middle of approximately 15 miles of desolate field along the side of a major highway, not to mention NO shaded areas for a rest. We may as well be riding in the middle of Death Valley during summer months.
In 2011 we lost all motivation for biking as we'd fallen into a lazy routine and the summer months seemed substantially hotter than the previous year. For 2012, we decided we were going to pick up the pace and make a better effort to get back into riding. In April 2012, after a single ride, we were rearended in an auto accident and lost our MTBs. Due to injuries, we were off the bikes for yet another season.
Enter 2013. We got replacement MTBs back in February and I have been trying to get out along the C&O Canal, which is a gravel/dirt/light rock path whenever the opportunity arises. Thus far, I've logged over 230 miles. Rachel has been out a few times as well, making some time after getting home from work in the evenings. It's been nice getting out to the C&O for some evening rides.
Thus far, we've gone out for some actual single track TWICE this year. We've loved it. Our new MTBs are vast improvements over our first ones. They climb better, are quicker, roll over obstacles better (29ers vs. 26ers), and the experiences have been wonderful. Rachel and I are finding ourselves more confident this year than on our previous MTBs and I find myself challenging my abilities instead of just "throwing in the towel" as I used to. These days, when I see a large hill, I don't just say, "No, I can't make it," and walk my bike up the hill, but instead, I try to do it. Some of the times I've amazed myself. It's the same story with obstacles, I actually try some of them instead of just avoiding them.
Last weekend I had a fantastic day on the trails. I conquered obstacles and climbed hills I never thought I could, but something else I never expected happened; I felt like I was 12-13 years old again; instant flashback. There I stood in front of an obstacle, contemplating, analyzing, and being very apprehensive about trying it, just the same as when I jumped "Devil's Pit" at the local park with all my neighborhood friends watching and egging me on or encouraging me to do it, but only this time, it was my fearful wife watching, camera phone in hand, waiting to catch my "moment of glory" on "film." I looked at the obstacle and after "dancing around," I decided to just say, "What the hell....," and took off straight for it. I stumbled a few times over it the first time, nearly face planting three times, but I was determined to "get it." When I finally achieved my goal, it wasn't enough. Then, I had to "get it" from the opposite side, which I did.
Achieving my goal was the first true moment of victory I'd felt within the past 26-27 years of my life. It wasn't the same feeling of satisfaction as say, getting engaged or getting married, but I'm talking about the first real feeling of personal victory. Yeah, I'd made the all-star team as a kid and was the starting forward on the basketball team, but my dad was the coach; see where I'm heading with this? I never scored more than seven points in a basketball game, scored a single goal in two years of playing soccer, or even got on base one time in an entire season (strikeout king), yet I made the all-star team. Yeah, I have team trophies for "Second Place" and a few all-star trophies, but I'm no dummy, I know EXACTLY why I have those trophies and it wasn't because I was a great ball player.
Last week was a true victory for me. I didn't make the all-star team because "Daddy" was the coach, I "made the all-star team" because I did it all on my own. Last week's accomplishment was a trophy I won't ever be able to set on the mantle, and that's okay, though I'd really like to go out and buy one for myself! The overall feeling was just so incredible, I can't even put it into words...
We rode home in silence and all I could think was, "Welcome home. Now I remember why I was so passionate about riding that GT Pro Performer and jumping Devil's Pit." While I remembered how I enjoyed riding and really loved it, I totally forgot about that rush or just the basking in constant moments of glory, the feelings of a huge passion for something, and just pure, unmatched bliss.
It's been five days since I've ridden my epic ride and I can't help but think to myself, "I never want to ride a road bike again; EVER." Here, we both have these nice roadies and I just can't motivate myself to get on it; just last week and a few weeks prior, I was talking about upgrading to a different gear ratio, swapping wheels, etc., and now, I don't even care. Simply put, my road bike will probably serve as nothing more than a dust collector.
I need a kickstart. I need to find some motivation for riding my roadie and I just can't. I think it's very clear where my heart lies but I want to enjoy riding the roadie. I want to feel like I'm doing more than just exercising when I'm on the roadie. When I get on my MTB, I'm "at home," but when I'm on the roadie, I feel like I may as well be sitting on a stationary at Gold's Gym.
I really need some encouragement or tips to enjoying my roadie again, because as of right now, it's looking like nothing more than an Ab-Lounge to me.