I have been asked many times what motivates me to write a cycling blog which takes a lot of time out of an already busy life and doesn’t bring in a dime. Good question. The answer is simple: “I get a lot of good feedback from my readers and that keeps me going.” The feedback is always similar: “Keep writing”, “It motivates me”, “I enjoy reading your blog”, “Great stuff”, “Inspiring.”
In other words, some people take the time to read what I write and they get inspired by it. To put this in perspective here’s an interesting statistic. I recently created a Facebook page for the blog and within five days I had 424 people find the page and “Like” it. More than 23 people produced a link to it or wrote about my blog on their blog. So if something I write helps even one person to live a more healthy lifestyle or inspires one cyclist to get to the next level then I will keep writing.
One question I never get though is: “What inspires you as a cyclist Alain?” What keeps you going? I have achieved a lot in the last six years so why not just take it easy now? How long will you keep going this way? This post is about what inspires me as a cyclist, what I think about when I get up in the morning and don’t feel like training. It is about how I deal with the fact that I am a little older every time I write a new post compared to the last post.
Here’s a big part of my inspiration:
Who is John? How old is he?
If I told you John was 17 you would tell me: “When does John have time to meet girls and party with his buddies?”
If I told you John was 27 you would tell me: “This guys won’t have time to help his wife to raise the kids, he will some be divorced.”
If I told you John was 37 you would tell me: “Told you he’d get dumped, as a divorcee he has a lot of time of his hands now so might as well ride.”
If I told you John was 47 you would tell me: “Middle life crisis, won’t last.”
If I told you John was 57 you would tell me: “Good for him, he probably worked really hard his entire life and now he deserves to be retired.”
If I told you John was 67 you would tell me: “Are you sure he is 67?”
If I told you John was 77 you would tell me: “You gotta be fucking kidding!!”
Well I am not kidding. John is 77 and he is my inspiration. I met John in 2009 in France. He was part of my group doing the Etape du Tour, an actual Tour de France opened to amateurs. We were about to embark on a 178 kilometer ride with four categorized climbs, including the “Mother for all climbs”, Mont Ventoux. I introduced myself to John who looked older than all the other riders in our group – but he also looked fitter than most. I asked him how old he was and he replied: “73”.
“Yeah right, he’s pulling my leg.” Well no he wasn’t. I kept in touch with John through Facebook and I can say that three years later John remains a role model and a true inspiration to me. You see, there is only one thing I am really afraid of in life and that is dying young. So I do what I can to tilt the odds in my favor and moving a lot (exercise) is a big part of my plan. I bike partly to fool myself about aging. If my best 30 minute power at 49 is 278 watts and it was 270 watts at 48 then I haven’t aged – in my own mind. If I aim to produce 300 watts for 30 minutes before I reach 50 then I don’t have time to think that I will be 50 this year because I am too busy trying to improve as an athlete.
And when I look at John and everything he accomplishes at his age, then I know that if I am lucky and I remain healthy, then I have at least another 28 great active years ahead of me. And when I’m 77 I wanna be like John – or even better I wanna beat his 2012 stats.
So there you have it. The inspiring being inspired.