Sunday, September 28, 2008


For only the second time since being down here did I really feel like I was in the South. Or should I say closer to the south. Even Memphians acknowledge they are only Mid-South. Yesterday I decided to make another attempt to find Shelby State Park. I had been told there was some exceptional riding out there. (Those rumors proved to be very true.) I tried to ride out there once, but got very lost. Unlike like KS, these roads do not run in perfectly straight lines. So yesterday I drove out there. Found a general store and saw a group of bikers who were taking a break to refill some bottles. After some introductions I joined in on the riding bliss. They took me down a route that contained the "Three Little Pigs." (Very, VERY big hills.) It was pretty intense. After we had finished up with 74 miles, we came back to the general store where my truck was parked. We were welcomed by some banjo pickin' out on the front porch.  Seemed like a scene straight out of Deliverance, right? Not to mention we were a group of spandex clad bikers. But, to put your mind at ease, this ain't the movies. The guy was damn good and it was a nice end to an even better ride. 

The guys I met were from a local tri team. After checking out their website I found an excellent commentary to a question I know a lot of us struggle with.

The competition, the clock, or one's self? 

Do we push ourselves as athletes to beat the clock or the competition? Or is it a combination of both? On the other hand, could it be that we just want the best from ourselves? As athletes we talk about our finish and may refer to who was in front or behind us in the race. We may also say, "I wish I would have pushed a little harder on a particular section of the race." So are we competing to beat the competition, the clock, or ourselves.

Or is it possible that the race is just within one's self? The competition and clock may come into play just because we ned a way to mark or justify our intensity to our given activity. During the race we may say, "I am not going to worry about my finish time as long as I finish." Then, the next morning regret that a fellow competitor beat us by just a few seconds. An old saying states, "Fatigue makes cowards of us all." So, if the saying is true we are just competing against ourselves. But, if we are concerned with who finished in front of us, then we are racing the competition or the clock.

So, as athletes, can we agree that competition is at its finest when the competition and the clock produce the best in one's self?



Anne Marie said...

mid-south? that's just silly :) yep, i'm takin' me bike and goin' west! i do have to get used to riding in drizzle since i'm not taking my car...but oh well! it's an adventure of a lifetime!!! i hear we'll probably just miss each other though...bummer. well have a great week!

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