There’s something about a small town coffee shop that gets me thinking of home. I grew up in a tiny little town on the south shore of Lake Superior. The people from town to town are of course always different, but the conversation hardly changes—how’s the football team doing this year, did you hear about Mr. or Mrs. So-and-so down the street, what about that local business down the road that just went up for sale. But as I sit here today, I’m really thinking about why some of us have this deep passion to push our bodies, to feel out of breath, to feel like we might fall over at any moment from the intense workout we just experienced.
While reminiscing about home and thinking of this burning desire to push myself I immediately think of my father. He’s that guy that just showed up at the coffee shop on his bicycle with his sandals that also have clips on the bottom for his pedals. He’s wearing some greenish gray windbreaker type capris and a shirt that has something to do with biking; today it’s his evolution of man shirt that ends with the man riding a bike.
My father is the very reason why I push myself to the edge, why I’m always looking for that next intense workout to kick my rear. My dad entered the bike scene in his college days. (This was also the time period when he was an avid runner before the numerous sprained ankles took effect). He loved the bike scene, the “bicycle freaks and geeks” as he states it. He began entering bike races and found out that he was good, really good. The hundred (I don’t know how many there are, but I would bet it has to be a hundred, if not more) trophies in the basement of his and my step-mom’s house are proof. As a child these trophies were kept in a case (not a glass case, but more like a trunk), if I remember correctly. I’m not even sure how often my dad would show me these trophies, maybe it was only once, but that was enough. I knew, even at the age of five or six, that when I grew up I wanted that many trophies with my name on them.
As I sit here, I realize how fitting it is that my love for biking, truly biking, the long strenuous rides, began in college. My dad always knew he loved biking, but didn’t get into the scene until college because of the small town he grew up in (the same town I grew up in). It just took me longer. Maybe it was realizing how important family really is, or that I couldn’t do the sports I did in high school for the rest of my life. Maybe it was just the right time.
I’m not sure if I’ve really answered any questions to why people push themselves; maybe I’ve jumped around in my reminiscing as too many thoughts crowd my mind at once. Anyway, maybe it will help you realize why you have this same burning desire to be something great, or push yourself to that edge, that maybe you hadn’t thought of before.