I’ve thought about whether or not to post anything but in the hopes that someone who participated in rather unsportsmanlike behavior reads this and thinks twice next time here it goes.
Saturday morning, my legs weren’t feeling those hills. I’m a runner and so I know that despite great training, nutrition, sleep, etc, there are just days when things aren’t hitting on all cylinders. Rather than kick yourself for having an off day, you pull it together do the best you can and move on knowing that a day that you will feel like you’re flying is just around the corner. Despite not walking one minute of those southern hills last year or any of the first six days, I jumped off and started walking about half way through the second hill.
Imagine my surprise when I started getting “rider shamed” for walking. The first was “Hey Duckie (I was wearing my Zero Ducks jersey), I’m 69 years old and if I can, you should be able to too” That’s awesome! I hope I’m still moving that well when I’m 69 yrs old. I also hope you’re retired and can train thousands of miles and rest up versus the 8 planes and 60 hours of work on about 30 hours of sleep that I experienced the week before the ride. The next was “it’s a lot smoother on the pavement, this isn’t a walk” Well, thank goodness you told me because pushing my bike through four inches of sand and poison ivy up 400 ft seemed like a much easier alternative up to that point. There were more but perhaps my favorite was after I nearly crashed because the person still trying to pedal directly in front of me was weaving over all three lanes and was down to a speed that doesn’t let me keep my bike upright, I jumped off to walk a bit. That’s when I heard “you should have done some hill training” Here I was trying to keep those who were having a good day safe by not falling over or failing to hold my line and I got scolded for not having enough training in. I can assure you, unknown and uninvited critic, that my regimen included hill training sometimes after 10 hour work days in just a sliver of the day’s remaining light.
I know the challenges I beat and the accomplishments I’ve achieved over my lifetime but seriously, the other 40 or so people pushing up those hills on the sidelines with me at that point may not have had that same confidence. I’d like to believe your misguided comments were meant to be inspirational but at that point in time, they were not. Perhaps you were overwrought with hill climbing giddiness or maybe you’re just insensitive but please think of the people who might have been truly deflated by your unfiltered commentary. One woman, a mother of a 2 yr old and 3 yr old, told me as we walked that she had just gotten on a bike for the first time in decades this past January. When she heard some of the comments tossed our way, I assured her that she was rocking that ride for just 7 months of experience and that whether we cover it on foot or wheel, we were still doing better than the person sitting on the couch at home.
So, if you have something educational to say to me when we are riding, great! If you have something motivational to say, bring it on. But if you feel the need to criticize, degrade or shame another rider who is riding or walking safely and with courtesy, go shove some extra pie in that hole.