We have this mountain bike race here in Norway. It’s called Birkebeiner and it is actually the worlds largest mountain biking competition measured by the number of competitors. It is 17000, and the race goes in a 95 km route from one valley following trails and dirt roads up in the hills and end in the valley on the other side of the mountain.
95 km is quite long, especially when a substantially part of it is steep upwards. The best bikers use less than three hours and the more modest one use 4 to 5 hours.
The race is open for everyone and even if there are a small number of professional cyclists participate, the vast majority is ordinary people like you and me.
So why on earth would anyone want to strive 4, 5 or even 6 or 7 hours on bike, sometimes in cold rain on muddy trails? I remember I wondered about the same some years ago when the race started to get popular. Now I love it and I will try to explain why.
Firstly it is a motivator to get some exercise. It is easier to motivate oneself for some everyday exercise if one has a race to look forward to, and I know for myself that I need some exercise to stay reasonably slim. I also think that I have more energy in the daily life if I get some exercise. In periods I have skipped it, and then I usually feel tired at the end of the day in office. That is never an issue when I get exercise.
Secondly, it is quite fun to race in a tight formation with many other bicyclists. You are a part of a horde, and especially when we get some speed on narrow dirt road it is exiting and it has to be experienced.
Thirdly I think it is more enjoyable if you remember that you are an amateur and that you will never win the race. For me it does not matter if I come in as number 5000 or number 15000. I would not even feel embarrassed if I came in as the very last person in the race, number 17000 of 17000. I usually also stop up for some minutes from time to time to look at the competition and the nature.
So if you feel inspired I will definitely recommend you to go to the http://www.birkebeiner.no/en/ and register for the next race.
See my blog on driving electric car http://zemcar.wordpress.com/
An my site presenting statistics for environment and global development indicators: http://csens.org