A friendly word...

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by gpriatko, May 11, 2006.

  1. gpriatko

    gpriatko New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2005
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    0
    sometimes it isn't.

    Last night I was out riding with some one who's recovering from a serious injury. We were out on our favorite 20 mile loop doing the first of two 800 foot climbs.

    There aren't a lot of people who ride this loop; and many who do are very fast. It's not a particularly punishing climb but it takes some effort and when you're recovering from an injury you've got to meter out your effort.

    You get to feeling self conscious. You know that you're riding a lot more slowly than typical and want to push harder but you know that if you do, some part of your body is going to come unglued.

    So along comes some nice young rider who shouts out a friendly "Almost there, you're doing great, you're going to make it".

    Grrrrrrrrrr.

    A word to the wise; a slow rider may have summitted that hill hundreds of times, maybe thousands. They may know that road better than they know the back of their own hands.

    But you probably don't know their story. You don't know if they crashed hard last week, if they're coming back from surgery, or chemo, or worse.

    And there are things that we can't recover from -- and some times they come before the gray hair.

    For some folks, that slowness means that there's a wheelchair in their future. It may be something that they've seen other people in their family go through and now they see it in themselves.

    At some point we're all going to have our last ride.

    At some point we're not 'going to make it'.

    Smile, wave, say Hi. It's good to have a connection to the riders around you. If they're going slowly today, they're probably painfully aware of it. Try to keep your salt shaker clear of the incision.

     
    Tags:


  2. badhat

    badhat New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    0
    wow so we're berating people for offering encouragement now?


    good god
     
  3. Scotty_Dog

    Scotty_Dog New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2004
    Messages:
    1,107
    Likes Received:
    3
    You're letting your ego get in the way of an encouraging remark. Did your friend feel as badly about the remark as you do?

    I'm sorry, but maybe I just don't understand the point of your post.
     
  4. dgregory57

    dgregory57 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    708
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm afraid that I don't understand the aversion to encouragement either.

    If someone is offended at being encouraged because they can usually do something easily and/or used to do it and/or have done it a million times, then perhaps they need to plant themselves in front of the TV and watch soaps as soon as their youthful capabilities start to wane. That should help them to avoid any encouragement.

    I wonder if Lance Armstrong was offended at encouragement he may have received on his first few rides after his surgeries? I wonder if Muhammed Ali gets ticked when people encourage him to keep going?

    Sounds like a problem with the encouraged, not the encourager.

    If anyone ever sees me, an aging overweight guy, struggling up a hill (or maybe in a few more years struggling on the flats), please encourage me... Yes, thirty years ago I used to climb well and fearlessly descend, but that doesn't mean I will be offended by your kind words.

    If I encourage you, and you find it offensive, please tell me to buzz off, and I will know to ignore you... You need to tell me, because I am not willing to bypass giving people encouragement that do want it because someone somewhere may have a bizarre sense of what is offensive.
     
  5. free_rideman

    free_rideman New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2006
    Messages:
    254
    Likes Received:
    0
    sometimes you don't know how good it feels to be encouraged, unitl that day when you are struggling and no one encourages you. Then lets see how you feel.

    But obviously if someone encourages in a way that suggests you suck, than that is bad. But generally I think encouraging is done for the good.
     
  6. Powerful Pete

    Powerful Pete New Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2004
    Messages:
    3,866
    Likes Received:
    0
    Relax. I always encourage and say hello to other riders. And you should too...

    Forza ragazzi! ;)
     
  7. gpriatko

    gpriatko New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2005
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    0
    Just don't assume that what you would find encouraging is the right thing for someone else.

    I think that there are two issues,

    1) Newbie's and Old Timers

    2) Personally dealing with losing something that you love

    The first one's easier. Invariably it's been a newbie who comes out with this kind of thing. They're trying to be nice but really, once you've been up that hill a few thousand times you sort of know where the top is. It's kind of like you go to your favorite restaurant and you spill some water out of your water glass. So you mop up the water, you pick up your glass, move it towards your mouth and some newbie at the next table looks at you and says, good job, you're almost there.

    No shit Sherlock.

    And maybe I would just have felt like laughing about it, if it wasn't for thing #2.

    Maybe my friend isn't going to make it back. Maybe my friend has lost one of the things that she dearly loves.

    It's not a matter of lack of training. She's been a athlete her whole life.

    It's not a matter of lack of will. Stanford has a great Sports Medicine program and they've got great Neurologists. And those nice people say there is no cure. They say take drugs that twist your neural transmitters into knots and stop riding. Maybe the pain will be manageable. But she says, I want to ride.

    And then there are the injuries that Sports Med folks say aren't repairable.

    And then there's tomorrow's MRI. Maybe the thing that knocked the legs out from under her mother, and that's doing the same to some of her sisters, is about to do it to her.

    Maybe it's not just riding that's not going to be an option.

    Sometimes you just want to get on your bike and ride. You want to feel that freedom of motion. You want to feel alive and well. And you don't want someone who doesn't know a damned thing about you telling you "you're going to make it". Because the truth is, maybe you're not.

    Don't assume that when you see someone struggling on a climb that they need your encouragement. That climb may be a act of courage that a relatively healthy person can barely imagine.

    Sure, be friendly, smile, say hello. But I can tell you, as someone who's been in a similar postion. As someone who was damned sure that he was going to make it that day but didn't know if he'd be around a few months later; I can tell you, that the last thing I wanted to hear was "you're going to make it".

    Sometimes you need the option to enjoy what you can of what life you have left; and to detach from what you're losing. And you don't want to be pulled back into the reality. You just want to finish your ride on your own terms.

    When you get to the top, maybe you'll want to talk about the weather, or the view, or maybe you'll just want to say, yeah, I'm not feeling my best today.

    Just don't assume that what you would find encouraging is the right thing for someone else.
     
  8. DiabloScott

    DiabloScott New Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2003
    Messages:
    2,284
    Likes Received:
    2
    I understand the sentiment - not everyone wants encouragement - or wants other people to think they need it... especially strangers.

    I'm always the first to say "hi" and then let the other rider decide if he/she wants any more conversation. Maybe "see you at the top" or something like that, but "you're almost there" or "keep it up" implies the other rider actually needs your condescending pep talk.
     
  9. gpriatko

    gpriatko New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2005
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    0
    DiabloScott,

    Thanks, that's exactly it. You're hit the nail right on the head.
     
  10. mattjf

    mattjf New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Messages:
    175
    Likes Received:
    0
    I can see how it could be annoying.

    I imagine she was probably pretty frustrated with not being able to get up the hill as fast as she often could in the past. It could be annoying in having someone point this out to you, even if you know it yourself. I know there are some things I can't do or things wrong with me. It's completely different when someone points it out to me though.

    As for the post about Lance, perhaps not on the first couple rides back was he thinking this way, but I imagine at one point he became very frustrated with himself over his inability to ride like he used to. Probably the last thing he wanted was some Cat{5,4,3,2,1} to ride up next to him and say "you're doing great, almost there."

    -Matt
     
  11. artmichalek

    artmichalek New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Messages:
    2,010
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think you need to relax and find some more important things to devote your energy to. You're ranting on and on about what that person doesn't know. How do you know he hasn't gone through something similar? A lot of us have gotten hurt. A lot of us have had hard recoveries. And a lot of us have gotten through our struggles because of the encouragement of others. You and your friend have to either accept the fact that as cyclists you are part of a friendly and supportive community or just stay in the house if you want to be left alone.
     
  12. gpriatko

    gpriatko New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2005
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    0
    artmichalek,

    You seemed to have missed all those instances of the feminine pronoun.

    And much of my 'rant' is about what she does know.

    And it's not about getting hurt and having difficult recoveries. I told you, there is no cure.

    And it's not about not accepting being part of a community. I wrote about being part of that community.

    DiabloScott summed it up nicely.
     
  13. PartisanRanger

    PartisanRanger New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2005
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    0
    That's basically it. While the encourager may have the best of intentions, it always comes off to me as condescention when someone says it while passing you. When I pass someone on a hill (or flat, doesn't really matter) I just say hello or admire the weather and move on, unless of course the other cyclist wants to talk.
     
  14. free_rideman

    free_rideman New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2006
    Messages:
    254
    Likes Received:
    0
    It could be annoying, yes. But still, you can't blame him for it. His life might be hunky-dory and everything. His realizations of it might come at a later date. He could be that person one day that might not be making it up that hill and who knows, he might want some encouragement too.

    I think it really is the recipients duty to understand the context of the encouragement, and take it the way he wants to. You could go as far as even sharing a bit, but in a nice way, not to make the other person feel like a butt.

    I mean, what is better? Having someone at least there supporting you, or being there all by yourself. (also applying metaphorically to life)

    Sh*t happens in life to all of us, for better or for worse, and in different degrees of severity. Even though severity is really determined by the subject in pain.

    Anyways, people can help people. Sometimes I forget what stuff we are truly capable of. We should practice our kindness instead of shying away from it.
     
  15. janiejones

    janiejones New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2005
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    0
    Isn't it just as patronising to your friend that you have to go on this forum and "defend" her?
     
  16. gpriatko

    gpriatko New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2005
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    0
    janiejones,

    I'm not 'defending' anyone. I'm talking about how it feels to be on the receiving end of this kind of comment.

    You don't have to agree with me but it would be a good thing if you knew that some of us gimps don't want or need "encouragement" from strangers to go about doing the things we do every day.

    Imagine this, you're literally standing at a crossroads talking to your friend. You're 200 feet below the summit but that's not the point. The point is that this is a benchmark for her. Even when she's in so much pain that she knows that she can't finish the ride, she'll push herself to get to the crossroads before she turns for home.

    So you're standing there with your friend and she's telling you that she's got to turn around. She's bumbed because this has been happening more-and-more frequently. She thought that she was making a come back. So pushed herself hard in the spring but something went wrong and now she's fighting just to keep riding.

    You've been watching your friend deal with this for years. You know what this means to her. You've been through things like this. There was a time in your life when you literally didn't know if you had a future.

    And then some genius who doesn't know either of you from Adam rides by and shouts "You're almost there, keep going, you can do it".

    How good does that feel?

    OK, so that's not what happened this time. But if every person who rode by took it on themselves to to shout out their advice, it would happen.

    How would you feel in her position? How would you feel, standing there telling your friend that you can't go on while randoms are riding by telling you that 'you can do it'?

    BTW, have you read what DiableScott, mattjf, and PartisanRanger posted? Who are they patronizing?
     
  17. gpriatko

    gpriatko New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2005
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yup, different people are looking for different things. But what's cool for one person can be uncool for someone else.

    And some comments are just plain inappropriate.

    My friend wasn't alone. We were riding together. She was in the lead and I was tagging along behind chatting with her.

    If you want to be kind, find out what a person needs and help them get it. Don't just assume. People are different, their needs are different. Hell, their needs are dynamic. Some of us gimps don't think it's so cool to have strangers riding by and 'encouraging' us. I'm not a child, when I need help I ask for it. That's my responsibility as an adult.
     
  18. mikesbytes

    mikesbytes New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    1,717
    Likes Received:
    2
    Diablo, aggree with you, but we shouldn't convict this person for trying to do the right thing. None of us are perfect, me in particular.
     
  19. janiejones

    janiejones New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2005
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    0
    I must admit, I see you as a very caring person - and you must be very close to your friend. Yes, maybe some of us will diagree with what you say concerning "encouragment", but I see your point. And you obviously know where you are coming from much more than I do.

    Hope to discuss many things with you in the future.
     
  20. janiejones

    janiejones New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2005
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    0
    Also, after I read your post I went out for a ride, and I found myself thinking about the above quote a lot during my ride - it made me think how much I love riding, my town, my bike, my life. So, thanks for that.
     
Loading...
Loading...