This is a few days behind the New Year, but the sentiment is still relevant. And, this may sound odd, but as a cyclist, I love this time of year. Oh sure, it’s cold and dark and miserable outside a lot of the time and downright difficult to ride my bike, but other than that, it is perfect. When you talk about the New Year, many people focus on the champagne and ringing in the day. Don’t get me wrong, I am always in favor of champagne, but for me, it’s not the “Eve” that is so great, it is the sense of renewal and unbroken promise of the year stretching out ahead.
A new year brings alive my sense of possibility and hope. We get to write our own story on that fresh new year and the possibilities are grand. As a cyclist, I have put aside the fatigue or difficulties of last year and I think about the great rides ahead. As a bike commuter, I think about how many days of riding I will be able to do this year. As a bike racer, I think about really attacking my training so will cross some unknown finish line in newfound glory. As an adventure rider, I look forward to new roads, new trails, and new challenges. It is all laid out in front of me and none of those pesky things like work or expense or my age or my lack of fitness are holding me back.
My brother once asked me why I was planning on a particularly long, grueling ride. I said, “My buddy talked me into it.” He responded, “You are easy to talk into things,” and I immediately said, “Exactly!” And this time of year, I can be talked into a lot of things because the promise of the new year is so wonderful that almost any adventure or race or ride seems likes a good idea.
Now is the time to seek out your challenges for the spring and summer. Don’t be afraid to find a new ride to put on the calendar. Pick a new road or a trail and then pick a weekend. Stake it out while there are no conflicts. Find a gran fondo, or a charity ride or a race and fill out the registration form now, while it still seems like a good idea. Having a challenge waiting on the other side of the dark winter is motivating and exciting. It will make it easier to get some training done during these cold months. It will make it more fun to get your bike tuned up and ready to go weeks earlier. It will give the new year promise and excitement and it gives you something to look forward to, starting right now.
The new year will surely bring some challenges and problems. For most cyclists, it will bring flat tires and fatigue. For bike racers, it will bring disappointment. But all of that is someday later, not now. Right now is the time to think about the beautiful scenery waiting out there, the camaraderie of a group ride or a solo day on a bike with just your own thoughts. It is the time to think about the promise of the new year, as a cyclist and as a person. I can’t wait.