Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I Hereby Rando-Resolve: Balance!

Randonneuring is what many might--and some do--call an obsessive sport. It's certainly not relaxed touring with no itinerary. It's time bound, and time-demanding, and culminates in a once-every-four-years event. If a randonneur plans to participate in Paris Brest Paris, that randonneur had better be planning and training and visualizing and...well, obsessing.

At least that's my working assumption from a newbie's vantage point.

In a previous post, I related a few New Year's Resolutions I had successfully adopted, and I edged toward making yet another. So here it is: I hereby resolve to seek balance in all things randonneuring as I obsess my way to Paris in 2011. The formality comes from attending too many Robert's Rules ordered meetings.

Really, I'm not kidding. I will indeed focus, but I intend to be very mindful of a balanced focus. This applies to randonneuring items big and small. For example, I want to move from obsessing about finishing toward a place of preparedness and full effort without the worrying about what could go wrong. So, on a brevet, I will do my best to stay in the moment of the world sliding by as I cycle, and not in the moment of continuously recalculating my ETA for the next controle. At least I hope so.

More obviously perhaps, I want to be sure to balance the rest of life, like family and friends. Reaching Paris in 2011 is of no value if in the process I'm shrinking from those I love. One tip I have here, even as the newbie I am, is to recruit your spouse to randonneuring. I did it (or did she self-recruit?), and it works like a charm! What once seemed like an obsession is now a balanced joint activity. Right, Dartre?

On a grander randonnuering seasonal scale, I today plan to enter some of the longer brevets even if I'm uncertain of finishing so that I gain the experience of the longer brevets. Not that I won't give it my all, but I also don't want to forego the ride entirely for fear of not finishing. A balanced view in this case means that I'm focused on my ulimate goal--finishing PBP--and not fussing over intermediary status- or pride-oriented needs. Wait, maybe that is obsessing still? Tricky, this business of balance.

Anyway, I almost immediately dismissed this resolution because it is not as measurable as others I've done, nor as well-defined. But then I decided that it is exactly in this exploration of what balance means that I discover my intrigue with it. The notion of balancing an obsessive series of activities pulls me in.

So there it is, pretty vaguely. We'll see what balance means for me, and I'm surmising, what unbalance means. In both events, I anticipate the awareness.

Finally, part of the way I got to balance is by my recognition that the previous post on resolutions felt self-congratulatory: Look what I've done. Truth is that eating or not eating certain foods hasn't been too hard for me. Not that that is a testament to my will or strength of character, but rather the opposite. For me, it hasn't been a big challenge, even as I recognize it is for others. This just proves how one resolver's ceiling is another resolver's floor.

So...that leads to the question of what then would be more challenging for me and therefore worthy of resolve? The answer became balance. It could be that I'm inclined toward randonneuring precisely because I am fully capable of obsession. Could I then explore being successful, and balance that out so I stay a little more present?

In the end, I sure don't want to miss Paris. I don't want to miss it due to not qualifying. I don't want to miss it because I don't finish. And I also don't want to miss Paris, or the getting-to-Paris, because my mind is elsewhere obsessing along the way to Paris!

Wow! Even my writing about balance is obsessed. Egads!!! My use of italics is obsessed. I am going mad right before your crossing eyes!


OK. I just visualized balancing on a bottle of champagne (courtesey of the pic above that I copped from Wikipedia again), and I'm fully Now about that next controle, if my derailleur broke again and I'm fifteen kilometers away....

Keep it ti peeK