Posted by on Jun 15, 2010 in Bike | 5 Comments

What motivates you?

Why do you put the time and effort and money into racing, or riding? What is there to gain? Fame? Fortune? Fitness? Does the traditional carrot and stick incentive apply to bike riding? Or backcountry skiing? Or… anything at all? Perhaps not (h/t Dave). Perhaps we are more motivated by meaning, passion, and the idea that we are a part of something important and relevant. A paycheck is nice. Necessary. But how much more energy—mental and physical—do we spend in pursuit of a Leadville belt buckle, or Lotoja window sticker, or mid-pack finish in the local cross-country race?

A lot.


Because our hearts, our passions, are rooted in riding a bike. How many of us would continue to work in our traditional jobs if the needs it meets could be filled riding, or skiing, or writing? If pursuing other, more meaningful, motivating ideals could fill the void of income and a “living” then what would prevent us all from doing that which we love most? Indeed, what is preventing us from doing that now? This is not to claim that every job, at every company, or that every mode of conventional employment is mired in dreary, life-sapping gloom. On the contrary. There are jobs—and people doing those jobs—that are interesting and meaningful, and necessary.

But I wonder, often lately, exactly what it is I am in pursuit of? Not only in my riding, but in my writing, and in my employment. To borrow a phrase from the gaming world—what is the endgame?

I can’t say, exactly. However, more important that that is the process and journey of getting there… if “there” is even possible. Or real.

And so I continue to pedal. To ride hill repeats and intervals and force myself into recovery days. I’ll continue to time trial American Fork Canyon, and Clark’s. I’ll be at the start line for cross-country races. And maybe someday even cross country races. I’ll keep writing, and shooting, and working. I’ll be a dad and a husband—if at times aloof, and incompetent—without always knowing what the end is, or will be. And why? Because in a very real, tangible way, the pursuit of happiness is more meaningful, more obtainable, and ultimately more enjoyable than obtaining happiness—however you might define it—ever could be.

After all, once “happiness” is achieved… then what?

Or, in other more rudimentary words: Pedal, dammit.


  1. simon
    June 15, 2010


    it’s a cool video dealing with motivation. i find the points it make about “mastering” a skill very true. i would not be working where i am today if i didn’t learn anything everyday.

  2. KanyonKris
    June 15, 2010

    What motivates me? Fun, enjoyment, pleasure, exploration.

    I expend the minimum amount of training and planning that produces the level of enjoyment I desire.

    Enjoyment is found in the moment – on the ride, or rather in the ride.

    Sometimes I’m a “pedal dammit” guy, but usually not. I like to ride as my mood dictates. We’ve got fun, scenic trails around here – if I just hammer I loose some of the experience. “Just ride” hits closest to home for me.

  3. Greg
    June 15, 2010

    If I could figure out exactly why I mountain bike, I think I would be a much smarter man.

    I think it has something to do with the refreshing feel of the wind of a downhill flapping a sweaty jersey and drying my back after a 2 hour climb.

    • Greg
      June 15, 2010

      Maybe not two hours… that’s a little bit of a hyperbole.

  4. Eszter
    June 21, 2010

    Because it feels like flying.


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