Sunday, January 22, 2012
After doing my best to assimilate into Columbus bike culture for the last two years, I think I'm required to reflect on the day that I Facebook posted, with much disdain, about my feelings regarding biking. I believe (Rather, I know, now that Facebook has that lovely timeline feature) that on March 29, 2010, I said, "Talk about your stupid bike again, see what happens". Gee, I bet that instilled feelings of love and warmth from my 800 Facebook friends, a large percentage of which are bike enthusiasts, or at least bike hipsters.
You might wonder what it was in me, other than lack of latte, that would make me jab a community typically characterized by their zeal for outdoor fun. Honestly? It was jealousy. If there's any kind of club, I'm going to want to become a member. This is much like my feelings for running before I became a runner (or at least running enthusiast). I would roll down the window of my car, throw Soft Batch cookies and yell, "What's the hurry?!" I hated them. And, in the end, it's because I had no idea how to become them.
This summer, while on the bike trip, I made a call to my sister late at night from a mountain in Salida, Colorado. She was in Put in Bay, and had had a few drinks, which probably allowed her to say what she did. "Maybe you thought you were faking it before, but you really became the thing you were trying to be".
She was so right. After losing a bunch of weight five years ago, everything I tried made me feel like an imposter. I was a fat, sad, smoker-imposter. And people knew when I coughed through my 12 minute mile that I wasn't an Olympic athlete. But after making it several hundred miles on a bicycle through the Rocky Mountains, I was the thing I had previously pretended to be.
You're acceptance into a community is not based upon your abilities. Your acceptance is based on your attitude. I showed up to a triathlon on a 30 pound steel-framed 70's department store bike. I ran my first race draped in three layers of fleece. (I didn't know I would sweat so much) And I took off on a bike trip with 32 more pounds of gear than I needed. I had to start somewhere. And faking it seems to be a reasonable spot.