Saturday, January 9, 2010

Friendly Competition

We all know how personal goals work - you lay the groundwork for a particular accomplishment to take place of your own accord, for example, to jog for a half an hour instead of fifteen minutes. When you meet your goal, it obviously feels great. You're in a friendly competition with yourself. Who easier to "beat" than yourself?

This month, I'm in a very friendly competition, this time with friends. The goal is to cycle 300 miles in 30 days. Yep, 300 miles. It's actually not a whole lot, for at the time I'm writing this, I need approximately 168 more miles by January 31st in order to meet the goal. The best thing about this competition is that it's not about speed, or solely about endurance; it's about using a bicycle for the kinds of things that you wouldn't think twice about using a car for. It's providing an alternative to gas emissions and sitting on your butt, and what with the fabulous winter weather we've been having in LA (70+ degrees, represent), it's not an absurd notion to act on.

So I'm in. What I'm hoping to get out of this is to continue to ride my bicycle for training and exercise purposes and regular transportation; more importantly I hope to challenge myself. Whether hills and inclines, lengthier rides (30+ miles), the mechanics with my bike, or making sure I'm providing my body the nutrients it needs to go the extra mile (or ten), I'm looking to gain plenty from this.

Personally I had to establish only one rule before I ever had set foot and posterior on a bicycle three years ago. That rule was: make sure that this will work for you. Will you get more than you put in? My answer was yes.

So what do you say? Every little bit counts, what with saving money on gas, instant exercise, getting in and out of parking lots faster - you name it, and likely it can be done. We're looking at 22 days left in the competition, but I encourage you to take note of your miles until January 31st also. A very painless route in which to do so is online, through either Google Maps, Map My Ride, or Sanoodi (the latter being a no-fuss favorite). With a free account you can keep an online record of your miles, before or after a ride. If you're interested in keeping track as you go along, a reliable and reasonably priced cycle computer will surely do the trick.

What about you, readers? Competition or not, have you gained anything by way of two wheels? If you haven't yet, what's standing in your way?

Photo via Flickr, user unknown

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