Like a fine wine, riding is meant to be savored!
If you're reading this article, you're a cyclist, or else you're visiting a cyclist and you found this in the bathroom. Either way, you've probably noticed a leitmotif by now. No, a leitmotif is not a new German carbon-fiber wheel set—it's a theme. And that theme is "going fast."
Yes, we cyclists do like to go fast, don't we? That's why as you flip through the pages of your favorite bike magazine you'll see reviews, articles and ads promising to make you go faster. So if you aren't a cyclist, it may strike you as odd that cycling seems to be less about riding than it is about getting the ride over with as soon as possible. (It also might strike you as odd that your host keeps a product called DZ Nuts in the medicine cabinet—and yes, that stuff goes exactly where you think it does.)
Well, you're right. Enjoyable things should be savored—that's why Teddy Pendergrass never recorded a 35-second song called "Get It Over With." (Though I think he may have recorded an album called "DZ Nuts" back in the '70s.) The same goes for cycling. Sure, if you're racing you should try to finish quickly. But even if you're a racer, you shouldn't treat every ride as training for racing. If anything, you should treat racing as training for your rides. Let's be honest—chances are you're going to lose the race anyway. However, racing will make you a better rider, and riding's what it's all about.
Yet even if we don't race at all, we still feel compelled to name our rides and train for them. Take centuries, for example. It's bad enough that we can't just hop on our bikes and take a long ride without calling it a "century" and stressing out about it, but some of us actually worry about our finishing time too. Really, racing a century is the cycling equivalent of shot gunning a beer. Eventually, you learn that sipping is more enjoyable—and it gets you just as drunk in the end.