I pretty much get the same response from everyone who I tell that I'm riding in the GDR: "I didn't know you were that into biking." I usually respond that I'm not that into biking but that I will be a few months from now. And then the other person usually just gets a confused look and asks when my next running race will be after the GDR is done with. It almost seems as though people don't even believe me that I'm riding the GDR.
Why then? Why would I devote most of my summer to one cycling event when I'm 10 times the runner and could squeeze in 3 or 4 running races in the time I'll spend training for and riding the GDR? If others find it so confusing, why am I so certain that I want to do this race?
The simplest answer to this is that I think it will be fun. By fun I mean painful, beautiful, frustrating, exhilarating, impossible, inspiring, and oh so long. I will get to live each day only for riding my bike through some of the most scenic terrain in the world, and I will get to do this everyday for a few weeks!
Beyond this though there is an intense draw for me because it will be so new and difficult. If I were to run a few 100 mile races this summer (instead of the GDR) I would almost certainly finish them. The draw in that case would be the competition and pushing myself to perform as fast as possible. The GDR will be completely different though. It will have nothing to do with racing and everything to do with seeing if I can ride my bike all day everyday for a few weeks. I know that I can finish the GDR, but that doesn't do anything to change the fact that there is a higher likelihood that I do not finish.
Many would say that the prudent approach would be to work more gradually up to the GDR, with a plan to ride the GDR in '09 or '10, but the reality is that I am much more serious of a runner than biker and I'm just not going to take 2 or 3 years out of the peak of my running career to do this. This is quite likely a one time thing for me. The sense of accomplishment if I somehow find a way to ride all the way to Antelope Wells will be beyond anything I've ever experienced. And the biggest reason for this is because I'm "not that into biking." And if I crash and burn somewhere in Montana, well I gave something a shot that no one seems to understand why I'm doing anyway. And for me that will be enough. Simply lining up and giving my best shot at something that is so beyond my ability and experience as a cyclist... I get excited just thinking about it now.
OK, I guess this all sounds like a jumbled mess in which I don't really make it any more clear as to why I'm riding the GDR, but in my mind I know it's the thing I most want to do this summer and that's enough for me.