IT'S NO SECRET, ENDURANCE ATHLETES ARE ADDICTS: addicted to endorphins, pain, competition, etc., often to fill our time and keep us on the straight and narrow, away from the destructive.
Right now, I've got a new addiction: Chess.
Drop by for a visit, and don't be surprised if the board gets whipped out. That's easy to control. What's not so easy is playing online. I just love it, the challenge and strategy and learning. There's always someone, somewhere on the planet ready to play.
There's a probablytrue urban myth about teaching inner city kids to play chess. The kids who learn chess go on to much more productive lives because they learn that what they do today effects what happens tomorrow.
Which brings me to my main addiction - riding bikes.
There is no way you can expect to be good on race day if you've made bad decisions leading up to race day. There is no way you can be fresh for the sprint finish if you've made bad moves in the final miles. The great champions plan their winning moves many months out, years out.
Chess has this cool ending, where you can keep from losing simply because the player who is annihilating you doesn't close out the game effectively and can't Check Mate. It's called Stale Mate. On the ride tonight, I was trying to think of an equivalent in bike racing.
The only thing that comes close is getting the equal or faster competitor to burn themselves out. Mark Hoffenberg is the best I've ever seen at this. Somehow, he gets his competitors to work harder than he is working. It is so weird to watch, be subjected to. He just completely out thinks his competitors, then gets the W. I'm not even sure that is a Stale Mate, as I write this it seems more of a Check Mate.
Maybe that's why we let other positive addictions creep in,
they present new challenges to conquer,
require new ways of thinking,
and in the process,
riding is renewed.