Risk is a personal thing, most of us have boundaries of what we would consider risky behaviour. Some people seek risk to give them the maximum thrill, exhilaration comes with the element of danger and bodily harm. I feel I am very much risk averse, yet some may consider things I do as being risky. For them it is, since without the training and repetition, the experience and knowledge, riding their bike in the Gastown Grand Prix for example would be an extremely hazardous event.

When life happens to you, it may change your attitude towards certain situations and what was fun and exciting now becomes fraught with the potential for anxiety. Yet the activity is still something that gives joy.

Today the weather was cloudy and 1 or 2 degrees, feels like 0. My rule of thumb is not to ride when the temperature is below 2 degrees and it’s been a useful system for staying upright when there’s frost and black ice potential. The ‘it depends’ rule comes into play when the sun is shining and roads are dry. Then the shade factor is taken into consideration, can we ride on roads that run east west with south exposure? And what about the cold itself; hands and toes, face and ears! Why expose them to the elements, be uncomfortable and risk feeling the nastiness of warming them up in the shower, it’s painful!

There’s a book written by Wim Hoff, a dutchman also known as the Iceman, who has trained his body and metabolism to withstand cold and ice, running barefoot in shorts on snow covered mountain trails. After reading his book and still having no intention of snow running, I did learn that cold is a state of mind. We like warmth, seek it, make it a necessity for our comfort. Is it though, necessary for outdoor endeavors? We still have to ‘warm up’ and have our circulation increase, our muscle temperature go up to function optimally, but that happens just by moving, increasing speed and power output. Where does it say we need to be or feel warm for that to happen?

The enjoyment of a sport continues in all temperatures; the feeling of being in a group of like minded people riding along at a speed higher than I would get by myself. Chatting and finding out about our diverse group that have this thing, riding our bike, in common. With scenery; forests, streams, rivers, bridges and coffee shops, gravel trails and busy highways – ok, that’s not so much fun!

The enjoyment outweighs the risks by a huge margin and we stay safe by knowing our limits, becoming skilled and fit and focusing on that. It’s the best!

What’s strong with me day 29

Coach Be