The only way to enjoy being an unstoppable force is to have obstacles in your path. You need to have things that try to stop you, that get in your way, so you get a sense of how fast you’re going as you smash through them. Sometimes this works out, sometimes it doesn’t.
But such is life.
If you are caught unprepared by a sudden rainstorm, you should not run foolishly down the road or hide under the eves of houses. You are going to get soaked either way. Accept that from the beginning and go on your way. This way you will not be distressed by a little rain. Apply this lesson to everything.
– Yamamoto Tsunetomo, The Hagakure
The thing about riding with ex-professionals, former olympians, and the like, is that the ride is never as easy as you want it to be. In fact, very frequently, the ride is much harder than you’d like, no matter how slow everyone agrees to pedal. It’s usually rides like these that remind you that you’re not as fast as you think you are. You learn that those expensive wheels you bought don’t make up for fitness and talent. You learn that video games are not a substitute for the stationary trainer in the off-season. You learn that, maybe, you should think twice about that second helping of dessert. The hills around Banff can teach you all of these valuable lessons, and more, with the right company along for the ride.