I remembered what I was really going to post about competition the last time I posted, and thought that it would make for a better post than the drizzle that came out last week.
I was riding into work like I do every morning and I wasn't in a particular hurry. I was just meandering along. I wasn't trying to go slow, but I also wasn't trying to go fast. Anyway, I got caught by an old guy who was also riding his bike into town. I don't especially care that I got caught, or even that I got caught by an older overweight guy. I wasn't racing and even if he did beat me in a race, my self-worth isn't completely dependent on my performance on a bicycle.
He passed me just before we turned on to University Ave., which is a fairly big street in Provo. Just a couple hundred yards after the turn there's an overpass that involves a really short climb and subsequent descent. After he passed me, I sort of decided to let him go because I find that there's nothing more annoying than passing someone and then have them accelerate to demonstrate that they aren't really that slow.
I was that annoying guy, but I really didn't do it on purpose. You see, he down shifted on the way up this little hill and I was in the only gear that I have, so I had to maintain my cadence in order to make it over the hill. The old guy laughed at me as I passed him. As he should have.
I waited for him on the other side of the hill because I still didn't want to be 'that guy' who races off to demonstrate his cycling superiority, when in reality it doesn't matter. He caught me at the first light and we rode together for a mile or two. I asked him where he was going because I think that it's a good conversation started to start talking about jobs and what you do, etc. He was going to North Provo, I was going to central Provo. One point for old guy, zero points for Sans; old guy had a further distance to travel from where we were at that moment.
I then asked what he did up in North Provo in an attempt to get the topic away from the competition. He's a social worker, but he wanted to compete. He came back with the next obvious question: Where are you coming from? Sans: Spanish Fork; Old guy: Payson. Two points for old guy, Payson is further away than Spanish Fork. Actually that's three points for the old guy because he also beat me in the 'race' that I didn't know I was participating in.
Did I score any points? I don't think I did in his book, but I want to say that I stopped for the stoplights that he ran. I consider that a point for obeying traffic laws, although it doesn't make me faster.
Why does everything have to be a competition? Why couldn't I have a simple conversation with this guy about social work and the people that he helps instead of having to compete over who rides further and faster and whatnot?
OK, last comment on politics for a bit. I mentioned last time that I liked Obama for the reason the McCain camp is saying he's no good... Lack of experience. One of my biggest concerns for Obama was something that Bill Clinton tried to place as one of his strengths. He compared Obamo to JFK and himself (Clinton) as being young and relatively inexperienced. While I'm not old enough to really know tons about JFK's foreign policy and such, I believe he did a good job with it. Clinton, on the other hand, I would argue was one of the leading reasons that the US invaded Iraq. I know that it is Bush's war and he's the one that made all of the bad decisions, but he also took over office after 8 years of Clinton's inaction against a growing threat (if they were, in fact, a threat). Is Obama going to be 4 more years of inaction? While I don't think the war in Iraq is good, I also don't think that inaction is good. Appropriate action is good and I don't think that is what Clinton provided and I hope that Obama would take a different path. Did you notice how I made the paragraph on politics really long and rambling? That was in hopes of you not reading it, but I did want to write it.