Earlier this week I thought a lot about signing up for a 210-km endurance ride in southern Taiwan in October. My one-day record for distance is about 185 km, and that included a number of hills (not that high, but still), whereas this ride hugs the coast and is flat all the way, so I'm pretty sure I could handle the distance.
But then I thought, what would be the point? Given that it's a challenge, not a race, why bother doing it in a group at all? Wouldn't I get the same sense of accomplishment and have more fun riding the same distance by myself? I don't care about the certificate or the bragging rights, I just want the joy of overcoming pain to achieve a goal that I find meaningful. I want to be able to say to myself with surprise and delight, "I did it."
What I don't want is to leave at 4:30 in the morning and ride in a huge group of people along a route that I didn't choose. I don't want to feel like I can't stop and rest whenever I want to. I don't want to put up with weird looks from people wondering why I'm riding a cyclocross bike with fenders and front and rear racks in an endurance challenge.
So I'm wondering, does this make me antisocial? Not wanting to race is one thing, but it seems only natural that I should want to be part of a community of cyclists who also like to challenge themselves, right? I've just never enjoyed riding with other people. I feel like I can't ride at my own pace, can't stop when I want to, can't go where I want to go, can't choose what time I want to start.
I'd really love to hear others perspectives on this. Why do you do endurance events?