...but perhaps not for the reason you'd think.
Remember in junior high and high school when you'd pick teams to play baseball, basketball or football? Remember the awkward, nerdy kid who was always chosen last?
That was me.
Flash-forward many decades. I'm now 57 years old. Discovered cycling three years ago, and finally found an athletic activity that I was actually good at and really enjoyed. In particular, being 6'01" and 160 lbs, I'm a very good climber. I've been riding 100+ miles a week, but I put off signing up for a century ride because the thought of riding 100 miles sounded very intimidating. Finally, after the urging of many members of my cycling club, I decided to do the Cool Breeze Century, which is a ride in Southern California that features 4,000 feet of climbing along the 100-mile route.
There were two separate climbs on the ride, and on both I passed up pretty much anyone and everyone in my path. (It reminded me of watching the Tour de France where you see the climbing specialists reel in and overtake those who don't climb so well.) After reaching the crest of the hills, flying down those canyon roads was a blast!
The final rest stop was at the 80 mile mark. I was starting to feel fatigued at that point, and by the 90 mile mark it really hit hard. When riding I'll normally glance at the odometer on my bike computer every now and then, but don't make a habit of it. However, by this point I was looking down every minute, counting down every last mile.
That final mile, when the finish line was in sight, I get very emotional. I thought about all of my frustrations in traditional sports, and all the times no one wanted me on their team. This ride was by far the hardest I had ever pushed myself physically and mentally. I set a huge goal, and I achieved it.
I'm glad my eyes were hidden by my sunglasses so no one could see....