Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Driving to exercise

It has always struck me as ironic to drive somewhere to work out. Why not just go from home? Why waste gas on a workout? Especially since getting there could be a valuable part of that workout.

I understand that it is sometimes impractical to start from one's house. If you live in a city, it may be difficult to ride there, or even dangerous. Depending on the type of activity you prefer to engage in, it may be necessary to travel to a suitable location. If you play soccer, or basketball, that is not something you can easily do at home or in the street near your house. But usually there will be a field nearby where you can play. I can understand you travel some minimal distance.

I also understand that competition sometimes forces people to travel for longer distances.

However, in most instances people travel because they can. They drive because they can afford to do so, even if nothing else is gained by doing so.

Last weekend we drove out to Madera for a bike race. Why we had to drive 6+ hours to ride our bikes is beyond me. It is not as if we can't ride here. There are better and more challenging rides that start right at our doorstep. Although the scenery in the valley was great, with the snow-capped Sierra's in the background, I doubt if many people really cared.

I can understand that pro cyclists travel. When you are at that level, you need to travel to find suitable competition. When you are one in million in terms of fitness, you need to go find your competitors in far away places. But most, if not all the people who went to Madera were not in that league, not by a long shot. Nearly all would have found sufficient competition in the Bay Area or even in their city of residence. Yet they all decided to drive out to go on a few rides.

We take all this for granted. You probably wonder why I bring it up? Yet it is crazy, no matter how you look at it. These people could have saved a lot of gas, and a lot of time and trouble just riding a race locally. They would not have missed out on anything. All the competition they need is right here.

It is not as if anything was gained by going out into the boonies. It is not as if there was something exceptional in Madera that we could not replicate (or even improve upon) in the Bay Area. No, the only reason we all went there is because we could do so. Gas is cheap enough and we are conditioned to think this is a normal state of affairs.

It is not just bike racing unfortunately. People think nothing of driving several hours to go see a movie, or eat at a restaurant. Are these movies different, or the restaurants better? In many cases, the answer is no.

A bit of a backlog on my workouts:
Fri 3/5, 1 hour on rollers
Sat 3/6, 30 mile ride to the top of Redwood, here I lost my preload adjuster nut
Sun 3/7, 25 mile ride on the mountain bike
Mon 3/8, 7.75 mile run in the hills
Tue 3/9, 10.5 mile loop (Shepherd loop) run
Wed 3/10, 1 hr rollers
Thu 3/11, 41 mile ride to Castro Valley
Fri 3/12, 1.1 rollers
Sat 3/13, 1 hr bike in Madera
Sun 3/14, 15 mile run in Chowchilla
Mon 3/15, 40 mile ride, Orinda

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