Two things happened recently to cause me to wonder if others have an image of themselves when they ride. Not having many photos of myself, I was stunned to see my image in a photo taken at my youngest son's graduation last week. When did my son get to be two inches taller than me with such broad, straight shoulders? When did I get the folds around the front of my neck, and where the hell did all that grey hair come from? It used to be salt and pepper; now it's all salt. It really took me by surprise. Then yesterday, I was riding and passed a truck that delivers glass panes. It had a very large mirror loaded, the kind you might see in a dance studio. As I passed, I got a full view of me in my typical riding position. BAM... once again the image I saw did not match what was in my head. Good grief, is my position really that upright? Where did those extra folds of flesh around the mid-section come from? Could my legs possibly get any more pale? The rest of the ride I'm thinking about the image I have, or how I see myself when I'm riding. I was amazed that the image is still the same one I had of myself in my mid twenties when I used to ride 10 - 15 thousand miles a year. Physically, I'm not that same person, which I was foolishly holding on to in my mind's eye. Yet, somehow, everytime I throw my legs across the top tube, my brain turns on the twenty something tape, at least as far as my sense of what I look like.
While I recognize this might be a bit of an existential (my first wife would call it vain) exercise, how do you all "see" yourself when you ride? Is there a mental image you hold, perhaps without knowing? Or, do I need to sell off a few of the bikes so I can afford a good therapist?