Another week has flown by and I (and other cyclists) only have 7 days left in our 30 Days of Biking Challenge. Most cyclists are already looking ahead to the next celebration/challenge/group event at this point are either planning their routes or plotting their courses. After all May is Bike Month and I'd be remiss not to mention Cascade's Bike Month Challenge in conjunction with Unlock Your City and anyone with two wheels and a saddle are welcome.
But I have to admit, myself, I'm a bit burned out already. Don't get me wrong, its been a joyful month of cycling, and I've had nothing but positive interactions with other 30DOB riders, whether on Twitter or in the frightening dimensions of the Real World. However, I sort of feel I've lost my spark, and riding just isn't helping that.
You would think all of these challenges and group rides would make me feel better, but they don't. In fact, they make me feel worse. Most of the events or challenges coming up have prizes for most miles logged, etc.. and that sort of thing has always made me feel like a failure before I've even tried. I only ever voluntarily participated in things growing up that gave out participant ribbons, so at least you could feel like a part of the event. My parents had me participate in sports, like most children, and I hated it, like many children. My team would always loose and have nothing to show for it. Before you tell me that I gained character or muscle or whatever, please keep in mind that shit means precisely zero to an undersized girl who was always being told various bullshit she put up with gave her character too, so why sweat for it? I hated grew to hate anything competitive because it would require me to be "mean" or at the very least less compassionate than I am naturally. Put it this way, back north the girls and I would have a night where we played cards and gossiped, and we all took turns winning. That meant we would often purposely 'throw' the game, but the point of the get together was not to show which of us was the best at cards, week after week, but to have fun with each other. If this meant the zombies occasionally ate me, I was fine with it.
Its why I loved the Coffeeneuring Challenge and the 30DOB challenge so much, the reward for both of these is the same for everyone who bikes. For Coffeeneurs its a patch, you don't get a special patch for being the most special cyclists, you get the same one as everyone else who participated that year, and instead of becoming a trophy it becomes a badge of inclusive honor. For 30DOB challengers they know that they got a child a bike, each one of us is just as important to 30DOB as the next. There is no special pledge for recumbent or uprights, each of us have equal value to the cause. 30DOB takes droplets and turns them into a storm.
I'm not the sort who goes in for random drawings either if you're wondering. I've never walked away from one feeling good about it, although because my name is never called in those cases I think that's an issue of behavioral training more than anything. At least in a video game I don't have to care how the drawing might affect someone else's feelings, at this point if I ever won a drawing I'd be upset because surely someone else more deserving should get it. And yes, I know drawings are not based on that. I think it perhaps harps on that particular mental thrum that is tuned to fairness.
I have NOTHING against organizations that award prizes, nor should anyone despise someone(s) trying out and giving it their best shot. In fact, if I could, I'd be on the sideline of every race, but of course, I'd be cheering on everyone. Like even the other fans. I'm just not competitive myself. I don't ride for the miles or to prove anything. At this point in my life, after over twenty years of cycling, I'm pretty sure I've cycled to the moon and back, and since that's the nearest celestial body I was done counting miles years ago. As to proving that I'm the best or just proving anything, well.... I don't need proof, I'm far from the best at like, literally anything, I already have proof of that. The last possible reason, is for fun, and I get my kicks other ways.
May is a great month to bike, to see the place you live, but you don't need a challenge to do it. I was riding my bike pretty much every day before 30DOB so I can assure you the only challenge you need to accept is your own. Though I encourage you to unlock your city, ride all month, and tackle whatever challenge comes your way, don't feel like you have to do every biking event. In fact, I think I may very much enjoy being a bystander this May, because sometimes its not about the challenge at all, sometimes, its just about how much you love what you love.