…one man's contribution to the Weeeeerly Wild World
This is a statement someone made to me following a brief discussion about why they thought I should take part in the Tour de France.
I chuckle now, particularly because this was the second person to make such a suggestion – the first being my brother.
On both of these occasions it seemed that, becsuse I ride my bike most days (which isn’t even techincally a ‘racing bike’), and therefore (I assume) I look super fit (this would be extra funny if I was to ever stand in lycra shorts next to an actual Tour de France winner), I would be capable of competing in such a thing as the Tour de France. Here is the point at which I laugh – I laugh at their naivety (not in a cruel way I hope) – do they not know what it takes to take part in the Tour de France, how fit those riders are, or actually how slow and, dare I say it, pathetic my efforts are by comparison. Clearly not.
As you can see, I found both occurences of this conversation to be ammusing, but I was also taken-a-back by the statement that I “might be able to achieve something.” I know full well I wouldn’t achieve anything other than (if I could take part in the Tour de France) actually completing the route. Actually, you don’t need to do the actual Tour de France to cycle the route that it takes, as I believe some cyclists do. The reason I was taken-a-back was because the comment had the implicating undertone that I’m set to achieve nothing, I am nothing, I am pathetic.
I don’t believe this, nor would I like anyone to think this way about themselves.
I’m not sure if it was intentional, but as you can see, I did ponder such an accusation.
Personally, as I am aware, I do shy away from ‘competing’ with others in a fair few aspects of my life – I actually have few friends I share hobbies and interests with – this is my life, I simply state is here for insightle purposes, not to sound depressive! I much prefer competing against myself, at least that’s what I do in the absesnse of being around others – I set my own targets and goals and I continually try to better myself in the things I enjoy doing. This includes cycling – I keep a log of each day’s journey and compare each month and year to the previous one for example – I know last year I cycled more miles than the year before and this year I’m aiming to improve on that (although I do feel I’m near to peak and wonder what effect that will have on my attitude). I have ‘competed’ against others in the past (or rather, I took part in the same events and looked at their perfomance compared to mine) and probably had no interest in putting in much of an effort to improve to the levels of others. Even with intellectual persuits I compete with myself – I keep a record of each book I read and either (consciously) improve or equal the number read year on year. I feel like these are achievements.
My arguement is that you don’t have to compete with others, and ‘win’, to achieve in life. In fact, if all the ‘competitions’ everyone enters in life are against other people, statistically speaking, not every one of those people will be winner. And who likes to come second? The only times “taking part is what counts” matters is when you’ve made a personal achievement in the process.