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On Success

Sometimes I get sucked in to thinking that success comes quickly, could be reflected in a facebook timeline or described in 140 characters, or is “easy”. But then the other day I happened upon a cyclist on Strava, the excellent ride- and stat-tracking site that I use to track exactly how infrequently I actually get out and ride. Currently I have averaged 0 rides per week in 2012, thanks to integer rounding. Anyway, this rider is a top-tier professional who already won one international tour in 2012, and who also happens to live about 30 miles from me, so we actually ride some of the same roads. He’s using Strava under a pseudonym, but I’m positive that it’s him, not only because he’s the King of the Mountains on nearly every climb within 50 miles, but because this person’s feed showed every stage of the aforementioned international tour on all the right dates. (I’m not going to mention his name on the hope that it will somehow protect his privacy, which means he’ll let normal people like us continue to follow him on Strava.)

So now, having access to his day-to-day training, I’ve been reminded about the truth about success: it doesn’t come unless you do the work. Here’s his last week:

Sunday: 68 miles, 6,595 feet of climbing
Monday: 72 miles, 7,183 feet of climbing
Tuesday: 46 miles, 4,578 feet of climbing
Wednesday: 93 miles, 7,446 feet of climbing
Thursday: 38 miles, 1,370 feet of climbing
Friday: 62 miles, 1,923 feet of climbing
Saturday: 79 miles, 7,711 feet of climbing
Sunday: 122 miles, 9,554 feet of climbing

I’m not sure why the fact that a professional cyclist rides every day surprised me, but I guess I wasn’t really thinking about what his real life would look like. I only see him on TV at various races in exotic locations, and it’s easy to imagine that the team does most of the work, or that the races are the hard work and the rest of the time is for partying, or that his life is somehow easier because he probably has plenty of money in the bank. But really, the truth is, his success would not exist if he didn’t ride every single day, if he didn’t love what he was doing, and (I’m imagining this part) if he didn’t constantly look for ways to keep the work interesting.

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