Anybody that races bikes has asked themselves this question, usually while on a long climb in the midst of some serious suffering. Last night would be one of those times for me as I attempted to bridge the gap to the leader (Jason Moeschler, Santa Cruz/WTB) while being chased down by "my evil twin" (Kenny Burt, Jamis Bikes) who had hit the ground on a descsent earlier in the race.
"Why".... you ask yourself as your legs hurt, your lower back's tight and regardless of how hard you try, you just can NOT get a deep breath. You look at your heart rate monitor and wonder if there's something wrong with it. The numbers displayed have been WAY too high for WAY too long.... like maybe it's stuck or something. It clicks up a notch and you know that it's not defective, it's the reality of the situation at hand.
Then, you make the final descent on the final lap. You get closer to the finish. People appear along the course shouting words of encouragement. You ride with reckless abandon regardless of the fact that you'll never make up the needed 45 seconds in the last two minutes of the race. But still, you "pin it" 'till the end..... just 'cause.
Camaraderie at bike races (and rides for that matter) is incredible. The guy that just spent the last hour trying to make you hurt & suffer will be there to greet you with a smile on his face and you'll inevitably do the same for the rider who comes in behind you. As breathing becomes more manageable and your legs regain the ability to feel somewhat normal, the finish group grows and the camaraderie addictively spreads throughout the area.
Why? Why not?