Challenges Unmet

The campsite in the AM.

The campsite in the AM.

If you’ve been paying attention, you may have noticed that I didn’t go on a bike camping trip in April, despite pledging to do one bike camping trip a month this year. Yeah, I’m not that thrilled that I didn’t meet the challenge. But April was a hard month to do it, for a few good reasons:

  • I didn’t have a lot of free time. I ended up working six-day weeks twice in April, meaning that I only had two “true” weekends, less time for camping. While I could theoretically pull off a camping trip with just one day off, I prefer two full days because for me, it really does occupy both days.
  • And when I did have those two days off in a row, the weather was crappy.
  • Since I had been camping since December, I had hit up pretty much all the quick-and-easy places. Come May, more places will open up (like Clackamas County Parks), but that’s May, not April.

But really, the thing that held me back most was that I just didn’t feel like going. If I did, I’m sure I would have overcome the obstacles listed above. But I just couldn’t find that motivation, that desire, especially since no one else was willing or able to camp. Camping alone during the off-season isn’t that much fun for me.

And this is the problem I face with most of these challenges: Good idea on paper, but what happens when I don’t want to do it? Do I force myself to do it, just because I said I was going to? Do I beat myself up afterwards for not doing it?

Take, for instance, the 30 Days of Biking Challenge in April. On paper, this should be a “breeze” for me since my default mode of transportation is biking. (Same goes for the Bike Commute Challenge put on here in September.) But do I need a challenge like this to inspire me to ride a bike? No. And what happens if one day I want to walk or take the bus instead, or I don’t even have the need (or desire) to leave the house? Do I do one of those silly token bike rides, y’know, ride around the block a few times just to say “Hey! I rode my bike today?”

So I tend to stick to bike challenges that are pure fun, like the Bike-Tour-A-Month challenge, or Mary’s Coffeeneuring challenge. (At least with that one, I get a patch!) And I do like the idea of challenging myself to bike camp every month in a year (and yes, I’m fortunate to live in a place where I can pull that off.) But sometimes, it just doesn’t work out. And I get depressed about it.

The only silver lining is that the Bike-Tour-A-Month Challenge actually started in February, letting folks off the hook for January. Since I did camp in January, can I get off the hook for April?

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4 thoughts on “Challenges Unmet

  1. I hear ya. Work and weather made the prospect of an overnighter in April more of a chore or act of grim determination than something to be anticipated with cheer. I’m using the “get out there once a month” goal as more of a reminder to seek opportunities than a obligation. For me it isn’t about accomplishment, it’s about fun.

  2. Heh. I love this post, since it’s something I think about a lot. I think the thing with totally arbitrary, self-imposed challenges like “take a bike tour a month” or “ride your bike every day” is that you’re only doing them for your own reasons (at least, I think you are). And if for whatever reason your internal reasons and motivations about it change, then who cares?

    I mean, I’m pretty sure you know deep in your heart whether it’s something either you care enough about to push through even though you’re not initially psyched, or if it’s something that you can just let go for a month or a day and get back to when you’re feeling better about it.

    • Yeah. If I really wanted to do it in April, I would have made it happen. I like the idea of shooting for a campout a month, but if just hit nine or ten (the more realistic goal), that’ll be great.

      For what it’s worth, I don’t even think Russ and Laura have done one a month! šŸ˜‰

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