I wrote this many years ago, mostly for myself, as a response to a particularly volatile ride season. Reading some of the present threads I thought maybe this might be a good time to share these thoughts.
Conflict and confusion at any competitive event are inevitable. How the participants deal with it is the issue. Any ride I have ridden or crewed has always had unique circumstances to deal with. I do not treat this as a problem of endurance rides but as the essence of being an endurance rider (or crew). Keeping our integrity in the face of circumstances and figuring our way through them is what ultimately allows us to be successful. Maybe even what makes endurance riding so intriguing to many of us?
We may have criticism with the way a particular ride manager does things but at present we do not have a cookie cutter format at all rides nationwide. The reality is that now people with little or no personal monetary goals manage events, they use volunteers whenever possible to run the events and we win little more than accomplishing personal desires. Each ride¹s uniqueness is what brings us back or not. And the decision to say not is as important to recognize as the decision to enjoy again.
Three areas where I have witnessed riders (myself included) struggling with the circumstances of a ride are: with fairness in the heat of competition, the beginner experiencing the unknown and the experienced rider with uncommon, to them, situations. When you find yourself in one of these situations if your idea is to immediately blame others for the circumstances, I think, you may be compromising your chance to be successful in the long run. Immediate, retaliatory and inflammatory actions may compromise the ride for others presently or in the future, besides it being no fun for anyone unless you get off on that kind of thing. The bottom line is that no matter what we want to accomplish with our riding we will always be confronted by circumstances and we will all ride under those same circumstances. If you can be in tune with the uniqueness of a ride and all those involved including volunteers, other riders, ride management, even the land and community where the ride is held, I believe, we all have a better chance of being on the road to Happy Trails.
The "you's" in this are meant to be me, not directed at anyone else.
Had a great time over the 4th at the Shamrock Ride in Wyoming. The lightning was all the fireworks we experienced or needed. Biggest turnout for the ride in it's fifteenth year. Thanks Susie Schomburg et al. for another great experience.