Work hard, but don’t forget to have fun

By James Durand

Comparing riding a bike to shoveling snow is not something you would normal do, and rightly so.

Riding is fun, shoveling is not. Riding is a sport, shoveling is work. Riding brings joy, adrenaline, and great fitness benefits, shoveling brings some fitness I guess, but otherwise sucks. Yet, I have seen many similarities recently.

A few weeks ago while riding in southern California, I found a new route to the top of the hill and decided to explore.

Off I went, with a goal of cleaning the climb with no stops. I knew it would be steeper than normal, but I had been riding a lot and figured a minor grunt up this trail would be fun, especially considering it would be a shorter distance to the top.

It started off steep, but I could see the plateau of the first pitch. Mentally I was prepared, so I hunkered down for a few minutes and it seemed easy. Around the corner came the next steeper section. I half-expected this and even though it was longer than the first, I pushed through the pain and made it up with a feeling of accomplishment.

After a very brief flat section to help recover, it got steeper again. No longer knowing what to expect, I took a deep breath and worked my way up. At that point the climb was hitting a 20% pitch and my legs were screaming. The only sound I could hear was my heart beat which reminded me of a drum roll, but the end was in sight so I powered through it. I really wanted to achieve my goal.

As I crested that section, I realized that I was only 2/3’s of the way up, and to my surprise, it was getting steeper. I decided to lower my expectations, and figured since it was vacation, some photos of the view were appropriate. After a brief “photo stop” I continued up and when I realized I could walk faster than ride, I changed my expectations again and hike-a-biked the next 100 meters.

On the last pitch, I didn’t even try. It was so steep and my legs hurt so much, I justified that it was a good time to rest before the technical DH I had planned for the end of my ride. Gotta look at the big picture, right? Save some for the fun.

I returned home last week just before we got slammed with snow. As it started falling I decided I would stay ahead of it and shovel my whole driveway, sidewalk, and city sidewalk to keep everything clean and clear.

After a few inches had fallen, I shoveled everything, including the sidewalk in front of my neighbor’s. I was mentally prepared for the task and it seemed easy. When I looked behind me and saw the entire area covered in snow already, I hunkered down and did it all again, with a feeling of accomplishment.

It was still snowing and I was falling behind, but I figured this was the time to power through it. Much like a steep climb, you have to put your mind to it and attack, but I also decided at that point that my neighbor could clear his own sidewalk. (I wanted to save some time in case I needed a photo of the view)

That night before bed, all was clear, with just a skiff of snow collecting, but when I woke up the following morning, there was at least a foot of snow blanketing my driveway. And right about then, I decided that half the driveway covered in snow made a great sledding area for the kids.

I shoveled what had become very heavy snow all morning. My shoulders were aching and my heart beat sounded like a drum roll. The snow had stopped and the shoveling was finished. Finally. Then the plow truck flew by burying my driveway again and it hit me. It was getting steeper and I was only 2/3’s of the way to the top.

It was so deep, and my back hurt so much, I justified that it was a good time to rest for the technical sledding I had planned with my kids. Gotta look at the big picture, right? Save some for the fun.

I’m James Durand and I’m going’ ridin’…