THE HUMBLER - 13 APRIL 2014
View on the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge - Taos, New Mexico
Normally, I do one thing in my off time and I try to do it as well as I can. Last summer, I rediscovered bicycling and have been riding every weekend as often as possible. Since I had my running injury almost two years ago, riding has been my most consistent form of aerobic exercise. In the last six months, I’ve put more than 2,000 miles on my bike. You’d think I might be getting pretty good after so many miles. No, not really. Truly, I’m slow and I know it. And, not long ago a little something happened that totally exploded that fantasy. I was struggling up this hill into a wind thinking to myself, “Man, I’m working my rear off. I must be going fast.” Then, a little old lady riding a step-through bicycle blew by me like I was standing still. So much for thinking I was awesome.
Okay, I had an excuse. The little old lady had an advantage. Her bike had an aftermarket electric motor attached to it. She was pedaling, but was not hammering down on the pedals nearly as hard as I was. Her little electric motor was giving her a lot of assistance. Still, the image of me huffing and puffing with a little old lady blowing by me had to be a classic.
After she flew by, a few thoughts came to mind. First was, “Man, that’s kind of epic. I hope no one saw that.” Then, “Hey, the electric motor thing looks cool. I wonder if it can fit my bike.” Eventually I thought, “So much for feeling like I was getting stronger and faster with this bike thing.” And finally, “Man, my zillion dollar titanium bike and hours of devoted riding every week is no match for a cheesy little electric motor on a cheesy little bike."
When she flew by me, I was speechless and laughing at the same time. I mean this little drive-by showed me riding a bike with only your own power is no match for a little add-on electric motor attached to a cheap bike. It was like being passed by Lance Armstrong hammer down except it was just a nice lady out on a Sunday ride. After seeing what that little motor could do, I’m glad I'm not doing all this exercising on the bike ONLY so I could travel from point A to point B without breaking a sweat. Clearly, the little old lady was riding in style compared to me, and she definitely wasn’t breaking a sweat.
Here’s the other thing I thought about not long after being slam dunked by technology: Being humbled every now and then is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s probably a really healthy thing. You see, moments like this keep people grounded in reality. A dose of reality is a great antidote for falsely living in some sort of alternate universe. In my case, I was just beginning to think I was getting somewhere with this whole exercise thing. I was puffing. I was working. I was making it up the hill at a good rate. I thought, “You’re looking good.” Then, she flew by me. The point was made: you’re never as good as you think you are.