Monday, January 23

On Being Gruntled: Time After Time

Part of my disgruntledness of late is due to feelings of being trapped in a routine and within a societal framework which I just don't think makes much sense.

Within the context of my thinking of late I came to an interesting realization sometime between last night and this morning. While I don't hate my morning commutes, there are days I find it very difficult to motivate myself to get off the couch and pedal in. Many days I wait until the absolute last minute—or sometimes even beyond the last minute—to head out the door and pedal in to work. What I've realized is that when there is pressure to make my commute within a set timeframe it is far less enjoyable than on those days when, for whatever reason, I get out the door early and can either take a longer route or take my sweet time getting there.

My magic bicycle commuting talisman is the memory of all of those horrendous commutes I made back when I was wading through my undergraduate sentence. Twice a week for a few years I drove 50 miles to work at UPS early in the morning, then I drove about 35 miles from work to school and then after a full day of classes I drove 45 miles home. I absolutely hated those days. I felt free on the days I didn't have class; just doing the 50 miles to work and then 50 miles home. I remember one day as I drove my triangle commute I calculated my daily miles in my head. I vowed I would never miss that commute, and that I would never make a conscious decision to put myself back in that sort of situation again.

So when I am really struggling with finding the motivation to ride I always try to think back to that moment and relive it. I try to remember how it felt to spend about two and a half hours a day in the car. I would much rather spend two and a half hours on the bike in any kind of weather. Front Range winds, thunderstorms with hail, lightning storms, snow, name it, I've faced it down. And I've chosen discretion over valor at times when it was just not safe to be biking out in nature.

Back to the timing of my morning commutes...cutting it close stresses me out. Giving myself extra time significantly reduces my stress and lets me enjoy an activity that should be thoroughly enjoyable. The same can be said for my evening commutes, though there is typically less pressure to get home in a certain timeframe. And when there has been pressure to get home or to an appointment by a certain time I know I've been more stressed and have enjoyed the rides less.

The time crunch is part of life. I can't bemoan the necessity of needing to get to a place by a certain time. It helps to realize that I can mitigate the effects of a stressful ride by giving myself more time.

Of course this morning I waited until the last second to go out the door. And then I got to the end of the street and thought I had forgotten my employee ID. I hadn't...


GACK! Leadville is 200 DAYS AWAY!!!

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