Earn it

I did another gravel race today. I should be elated – I set a bunch of personal records on power and heart rate.

But I’m not elated. I’m not a very patient person and I think I expected to see results faster. And I know I’m seeing results so … what is it?

I actually felt worse than I look after the ride

In the simplest terms, biking rewards many years of consistent effort. And I’m basically 6 months or 2 months into giving consistent effort.

I’ve learned there are many things in life that can be obtained by brute force. Most business things don’t require many years of output. Instead, businesses are made up of projects that are thought of in 3, 6 or 12 month terms.

I’m pretty good at getting results when brute force works.

But brute force doesn’t make biking easier. You can’t brute force a 44 mile ride. In fact, it’s the opposite. You have to train so that eventually your heart rate stays down and your power output increases.

My bike coach explained it simply: “there are things in biking you have to earn.”

Another example comes from the movie Iron Cowboy (highly recommended). The main character talks about the many years of letting his body transform as he put in the work to be great at triathlons.

I’m drawn to racing bikes because it’s not something I’m good at. I was about to write that I don’t like putting in years of effort to get good at something. But that’s not true. I worked nine years at my company, grinding on it day in and day out, before we sold it.

So I guess I’ll have to earn it.

Celebratory beer post ride

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