Monday, July 23, 2007

Shut Up And Ride

The Great Divide Resources sidebar on the left side of this page is evidence that the internet plays a fairly large role in the Great Divide Race. Many people have selflessly provided route beta, shared gear lists and posted complete ride reports detailing the ins and outs of the race. I know that I have already benefited from this open sharing of information and because of that I chose to chronicle my GDR experience from the decision to participate through the last day of riding.
I have never spent any time on internet forums of any kind before I started monitoring the GDR threads. Sometimes there is genuinely useful information but a good amount of the time it is just boring and some of the time it delves into the kind of argumentativeness that I have no interest in. It is easy enough to not participate and skip over the animosity but when it ends up in my email inbox it is hard not to be taken back.
For reasons that are not worth going over, someone decided that it was necessary to tell me that I have a low level of intelligence. Furthermore, I lack the needed qualifications to speak about the GDR and was potentially degrading the event with my appallingly put together comments.
I wished that it did not bother me but I am not used to confronting this kind of vitriol. It was especially shocking because it came from someone that I had looked at with a high level of respect because of his exemplary attitude leading up to and during the race. I was blind-sided. After several days of mulling it over I still come back to the feeling that perhaps there is no benefit in participating in the virtual GDR community that exists. I would not make any decisions based on one persons harsh criticism but it has given me pause to think about whether this web project and the GDR forums are a benefit to my goal or just another distraction from the things that are truly important.
When the discussions turn ugly in cycling forums, inevitably someone throws out the "Shut Up and Ride." line. This line is meant to be an insult cast against a foe amidst an argument but I am going to turn it inward, regard it as a mantra and try as I can to live it.

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