Among my cycling friends there are those who are completists and those who aren’t.
What’s a completist? Among my friends, completists are those who cringe when they see me post Strava rides of 98 km. Says Cathy, “Would it have killed you to ride around the block a few times?”
Cate is a classic completist. We set out to ride 150 km to mark Canada’s 150th birthday. There was hail and thunderstorms. Sarah and David cut it short at about 120 km. I got a flat shortly after that and called home for a pick-up. I hate fixing flats in the rain. But Cate soldiered on. In thunder and lightning she rode up and down the bike path until her Garmin clicked over 150 km. I was happy to ride another 46 km the next day. I didn’t feel the need to finish what I’d set out to do. I was happy to mentally re-describe the task at hand as riding 150 km on the Canada Day weekend.
I smiled when I read on Cate’s blog about her decision to forgo the train on her travels in Estonia and Latvia. She wrote, “I had a fleeting thought that I could stay in Haapsalu an extra day and then take the train to Tallin. After all, 400 km on a loaded bike was nothing to sneeze at. But I’m a weird completist so I packed up, got on the bike and left.”
I thought about Cate when I decided to watch Game of Thrones Sunday night rather than ride my bike 7 km. Why 7 km? I set a weekly distance goal on Strava, 150 km. Usually during the summer, it’s pretty easy to meet. Bike commuting plus errands is 50 km or so. I often do a couple of short rides on weeknights, maybe another 40 km. And then there is a long ride on the weekend. I decided I’m happy to ride 157 km next week instead. That’ll be easy since the bike rally starts next Sunday and Day 1 is 110 km.
How about you? Are you a completist? Do you accomplish exactly, to the number, what you set out to do? Or are you like me, happy to redescribe and complete in spirit if not the letter? How much leeway do you give yourself?