(I missed a few days, I know. Didn't ride at all yesterday or Saturday; Sunday's ride was actually kinda lame. Freezing cold, blown almost sideways.)
So I'm writing this series as part of my Bike Commute Contest experience, but I don't tend to take the "Contest" part of the thing very seriously. I just don't ride anywhere near enough to be in the running for any sort of prize. The first year I rode, the guy who won was biking from Olympia to DUPONT. Yeah. Not ever ever ever going to beat that, or even get in the general neighborhood of it.
And there's always one crappy day where I just say "eh" and skip the ride, so there goes consistency. (Plus consistency award ties get broken by distance IIRC, so we're back to that.)
But...I can count all of this for two other contests! At work, we're doing this 10K steps a day challenge, which even includes a "friendly" competition with a few other credit unions in town. Bike time counts, too. So with that and some very serious gardening on the weekends, I'm averaging the equivalent of 18,800+ steps per day. I'm sure someone who hiked 10 miles is probably going to kick my ass, but I'm feeling pretty good about it anyway.
Then, I'm in this online bike challenge group as part of another website community, and this summer the founder has announced a "streak" challenge, so whoever rides the most consecutive days wins a super-cool GPS bike computer. (Drool drool drool) Again, I can't win for distance (although last month & so far this month I'm right around #10), but I can definitely be consistent, assuming I can tough out the "eh" days.
I've never ever ever in my entire life been competitive about sports. I can't actually say that never quite enough. You know that skinny mopey girl in school who couldn't do so much as a single pull-up, nor could she manage to hit any sort of ball? That was me! The only thing I ever even enjoyed was swimming, and I was neither especially fast, nor especially graceful.
Which is not to say that I don't have a competitive streak. I was fiercely competitive in Academic Decathlon. (Yes, that kind of nerd. Oh, so very popular in school...or not.) I was competitive about getting poetry into the literary magazine in college. But I got so turned off on any kind of sport-like activity in school that I fled any kind of competition in that area.
The biking, though...maybe it's that I came to it as an adult. Maybe it's that I can compete sight unseen. (I can't imagine racing, for example.) Maybe it's that I can compete with myself, and in ways that actually work for me. In any case, I find myself doing the happy dance when I see that I've moved up a slot in the Metafilter challenge, or when I look at a crazy step number like 23,000. And it turns into a nice virtuous cycle, where I ride more, which makes me feel better, and then I'm happy to be competing well, which pushes me to keep up with my biking, etc., etc.