By "Cap'n" John Ende
I know. This is a long distance bicyclist's newsletter. Why are we discussing commitment? Well, there are many different types of commitment. Some are pertinent to the cycling community. There is commitment to family, commitment to community and the randonneuring pertinent commitment to a mental hospital. I know that my family and community feel that I should be confined and examined by professionals when it comes to my commitment to the bicycle.
There are several definitions for "commitment" in my Second College Edition of the American Heritage Dictionary, but the one I like best is: the state of being bound emotionally or intellectually to a course of action. This bonding emotionally to a course of action is what gives us purpose, satisfaction and fulfillment. Ahh but what's your point, you ask. None really except that I have been asked by the editors of this fine newsletter to occupy space in this particular edition. You know, not much going on this time of year. Time to get inside the mind.
I'm talking about COMMITMENT TO AN EVENT. This is not a New Years resolution. This will not collect dust down in the basement with the disco mirror ball, microwave fondue set and rowing machine. This is the true commitment that comes from signing up for an event and paying your entrance fee. Until you are signed up and paid for, you, my friend, are not committed. I have learned not to plan on riding to the starting line with my friend who casually says that he is thinking about the Bloody 100 or whatever. Don't plan to share a room with someone who "would really like to do a Brevet series". Show me the money, as in the money that you paid to enter this here event junior. Don't believe a word you hear when it comes to idle chatter. Let's face it. Our sport is prone to this banter. I mean if you go out to ride with your buddy for two to three hours there is a pretty good chance that a few words will be exchanged. After you've discussed the finer points of chain lubrication and the latest Endurox flavor chances are that someone will mention a potential event. "Hey, I'm thinking about PBP". "Me too". Don't believe it until they have completed the brevet series and gotten their number from the Audax Club Parisien.
So far I have discussed only one form of commitment that you can count on. The real fact of the matter is that you can't really even count on the signed up and paid for (SUPF).
I'm sure you all know SUPFs that don't show. Just ask any ride organizer. Perhaps 10-25 percent of SUPFs won't show. If raining, the SUPF no show rate could top 50%. The strongest level of commitment is of course the "you talked your buddy into doing the ride so now you have to do it also". This one is particularly pertinent if your buddy is traveling by plane to the event with a bike box. "Where the ____ is your name here?" might be overheard at the start line if you decided to snub your interstate riding bud. Now if this were to occur then you would need to know exactly what to say or you may never ride with that individual again. I have a litany of excuses. They roll off my tongue like a waiter reels off the daily specials. "Was that this weekend?" said with a gasp. "I'm in jail" can be useful if you preempt their investigative call to your house with your own explanatory call. This works best if your kids and/or dog can make background prison noises. "I lost my amateur status" can raise a few eyebrows, and there is always "the dog ate my bike".
Remember fellow Randons, commitment is not a four letter word. Commit to it. You'll have the season of your life.