To Compete or not to Compete…

I have always viewed fitness as a wonderful realm of endless paths to personal health, success and longevity. However, my peaceful warrior mentality with regard to fitness was challenged to the core last night while on a mountain bike ride. I don’t own a bicycle geared for riding on the road but I still grab my mountain bike and crank out some laps around a hilly, paved oval in a local park. While on my ride last night, I was cranking up a hilly section of the oval and a guy on a road bike, decked out with all the cool new cycling gear and a $6000 bike rides by and said “you need to get a road bike…ha ha ha!”

He then proceeded to whiz by me with seemingly little effort as he chuckled on down the road. Normally, I shrug that stuff off but last night there was something in the air! His cocky behavior really ticked me off, so I sped up behind him then proceeded to follow him around a few laps. He then picked up the pace, so did I….then the grudge match began!

Road bicycles are significantly faster than mountain bikes on pavement but despite the odds, I said to myself “I’m going to die from fatigue or Mr.  I wanna be Lance Armstrong is, either way I’m gonna go all out and see what he’s made of!”

After about 8 laps, I was getting pretty tired but I noticed that I was stronger at climbing and could possibly make him crack if I could keep hammering up the hills and making him try to catch me. He was starting to get fatigued and he went all out to try and break me on laps 9-10 but my body was so fatigued that I just didn’t care about the pain anymore and we battled to around lap 15. My body was telling me to quit but his cocky smirk and comments kept me so ticked off that I kept cranking through the intense burning in my legs until midway up the hill I could hear his last gasp of both fatigue and defeat! Hah, his legs just couldn’t peddle anymore and he was swearing to himself. Sweet victory for the dude on a 10-year-old mountain bike!

Like the peaceful warrior I am, I didn’t gloat or have a snappy comeback to his earlier comment like is so common in tv sitcoms…I let the burning in his legs and lungs do the talking…hah!

Despite the senseless stupidity of the whole experience on both sides, I still chalk it up as one of the crowning moments of my sport or fitness accomplishments. Why? I don’t know, it just felt good in a senseless and stupid way! There were no crowds, no girls to impress, no money on the line, just two stupid guys engaged in a stupid grudge match because one guy said something stupid and I buried him with a 10-year-old, muddy bike, khaki cutoff shorts and my scuffed-up bmx helmet!

What is the moral of this story? There isn’t one other than the fact that being successful in the realm of fitness is a personal journey and that fitness success doesn’t mean that you have to compete with everyone you come in contact with in order to showcase your level of conditioning.  However, with consistent training you do afford yourself the ability to do so on rare occasions such as this to efficiently deal with cocky jerks.

Score one for the peaceful warrior…

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