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The Ring: A Collection of Voices

Why I Ride

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The second or third week in November is usually about when it happens.

Words by Dan Chabanov // Images by Heather Seagraves

The first truly cold week comes around, and, as I spend an extra half-hour trying to figure out what to wear before I head out and ride, I ask myself, how many more races do I have left this season?

These past two weeks I’ve been getting ready for my last big racing block of the year: three back-to-back weekends of UCI events, six races in total.

The good thing about approaching a block of racing is that all of the hard work has been done. I just have to race.

It has been another long year of bike racing in a string of long years of bike racing. Which always comes to mind when the weather turns cold.

cyclocross-turn

When the temperature drops like this, you’re left with two things: your motivation and your reasons.

Sometimes people ask bike racers, as happened to me recently, usually after a cold and miserable training ride or a race where you’ve just put yourself through hell on earth — the perennial question:

Why do you ride?

I have yet to hear a truly great or completely honest answer to this question.

Mostly I’ve heard a lot of wonderful-sounding grandiose posturing.

Maybe that’s because honest answers don’t make for good sound bites.

But the truth is, at least for me, that most bike racers I know don’t think about it that much.

I’ve been racing bikes longer than I’ve done anything else in my life. Which is an interesting thought to mull over.

https://pelotonmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/dan-chabanov-cyclocross-racer-peloton-magazine.jpg

Something beyond the small level of success I’ve accomplished has kept me in the sport. But I don’t spend a great deal of time thinking about what that is.

I mean, if you cast a wide net around the word “race,” there are easy things to like about the experience.

Traveling to new places. Seeing old friends at races you come back to year after year.

But as far as why I pedal my bike to the limit of my ability, I don’t know.

I never needed a reason.

I figure as long as racing bikes puts a dumb grin on my face, I’ll keep racing bikes.