Of Dreams and Decisions in the New Year

By Chris Kostman

Originally published in The California Events Schedule, January 1993

Super athlete and spiritual master Sri Chinmoy teaches that "The fulness of life lies in dreaming and manifesting the impossible dreams." With one twelfth of the new year behind us, there's no time like the present to start manifesting some dreams. In fact, now that the gluttonous days of the holidays are finally over and we're starting to stare down the road towards those spring rides, events, and races, now's the time for some decisions.

Decisions abound for the cyclists of this age: There are innumerable different types of cycling, both on and off road. Training methods vary. Diets vary. And the philosophy we bring to our chosen sport has the grandest potential for variety and uniqueness. Wonderfully, how we think, feel, breathe, and live cycling can be constantly in flux. We needn't ride or live in a rut, for a life on wheels necessarily rolls simultaneously in every possible direction. Life on a bike is a three dimensional life, a transcendent life, a life of intertwined physical and cerebral adventures. And live and ride proactively, rather than reactively, and success and serenity will come to you unbidden.

Goal-setting is the key to dream manifestation, so write down your goals for the new year. (Make this process lighthearted but heart-felt.) What rides, centuries, races, or other events in this state or beyond have you dreamed about doing? Writing them down is the first concrete step to accomplishing them. Next, actually write or call for entry forms, then sign up for the events. Get yourself committed! Now, ride, train, plan, daydream, strategize, make plans, make decisions. Chart out your grand plan for success, and do this on paper. (Ideas committed to paper outlast those cut into rock in the greater scheme of things...) And of course stay tuned to The Schedule for my articles on equipment and riding technique, as well as training tips in the Coach's Corner; we have much on deck for future issues!

Note that even your goal-setting is most beneficial in the long run if it is multi-track. Have a focus is you wish, but dabble in all types of cycling and events. You really can do anything you want to do, so ride centuries, multi-day supported tours, multi-sport events, even races. Nobody will laugh at you for venturing outside your forte. In fact, you'll earn the instant respect of your new peers for venturing into uncharted territories. Plus you'll make new friends, see new places, diversify your skill repertoire, AND become more proficient at your chosen focus. Trust me: diversity equals excellence!

Next, make decisions. What kind of equipment will you use? In other words, how dependent on technology do you want to be? Strive for purity and simplicity, not overkill and dependency. Invest in talent and inner strength, not in stuff. Sell yourself on the sport and its aesthetic qualities and you will be a life-long cyclist, but sell yourself on gimmickry and you necessarily sell yourself short. You see, your psyche eschews dependency, so avoid technological crutches. Don't let yourself end up feeling betrayed and resentful, because in the end, only lungs, legs, and love will get you that finish line (and to the next starting line). Rather, feed your inner fires and you'll live and ride better, stronger, faster. Cycling is not just the only sane form of mechanized transportation, but a transforming lifestyle.

Make the most of your talents and your equipment. Ride the bike; don't let the bike ride you. Believe it or not, just about any bike will take you just about anywhere. Don't have a mountain bike? Who cares? Take it slow (at first) and pay attention, and a road bike will handle most any trail you'll encounter. (Again, trust me on this.) Push the envelope a bit and you'll become a hugely better rider, both on and off road, by adventuring off-pavement with your skinny tyred bike, I guarantee it. Also, you'll awe your fellow trail users with the inner joy and freedom you'll radiate as you venture down the paths less traveled.

No road bike you say? Once again, "irrelevant," I chant to you. Just take that fat tyre flyer and hit the road. You'd be amazed at how many century riders use an ATB! If lugging all that tyre tread puts you off, just install some 1" to 1.5" slicks and you'll really fly. A little extra speed can be had by adding an aero bar clip-on, too. Instant road bike, for all practical purposes! The point is to get out and do it (no matter what "it" is), so don't let petty issues hold you back. A bike is a vehicle for all reasons and all seasons.

Whether you are new to the sport or an old timer, it's never too late for dramatic decision making. (When I was 14, my first riding buddy, Clyde, decided to celebrate his 71st birthday with a 71 mile ride. That type of example-setting and love of sport and self not only motivated Clyde, but all of us who were lucky enough to ride with him.)

Dream and decide. Let your inner light shine. Make 1993 your year. You, and those around you, deserve it!