Skip navigation

Finding Motivation: Why We Do What We Do

Tue, Mar  3, 2015 - By Ian Harvey

One March, I thought it would be fun to do a 3 hour Intermountain Cup Mountain Bike Race in Southern Utah on Saturday, US Masters Championships race on Tuesday in West Yellowstone, MT, and then the Yellowstone Rendezvous 50k ski race on Saturday. You might ask yourself...Why? Why would you do that to yourself? (Early season MTB Race + super long drive = lower back pain, right?). The truth is, during the Rendezvous race on Saturday, I was asking myself the same question! During the race I even "cut a deal" with myself in an effort to squeeze out of my exhausted body and said that if I gave everything in the marathon that day, I would cancel my plans to race in the California Gold Rush Marathon the weekend after. I suffered like a dog and finished the race OK and then stuck around the following weekend.

A few years back on an early morning in Oberstdorf

A few years back on an early morning in Oberstdorf

That following weekend, I was up at Strawberry with a headlamp early in the morning (in the spring nonetheless) crust skiing because I was so excited to ski, I didn't want to wait for the sun to come up. What?...really?

The "why" is difficult to explain except to note that we skier types all seem to have this inexplicable yearning for outdoor adventure in common.

Another time I was on a summer business trip to Southern Germany for product management meetings. I enjoy travel, but not travel without adventure. I was able to fly in to Munich, take a combination of trains to Oberstdorf and crash somewhat early due to the time change and exhausting travel. At 5am, I was charging up the biggest mountain in the area in drizzle and light snow falling and with a pack cover protecting all the items that I had brought with me for the trip. At 8am, I was on the peak freezing my tail off waiting for the tram that was supposed to have just started running to bring me back down. The tram operator was freaked out to see a highly motivated and freezing cold individual anxious to board the tram and return to warmer temperatures. I was then able to take a combination of trains and just make it to my meeting which started at 1pm in Memmingen, Germany. Two days later, I was on a plane on the way home. It was a productive business trip and a great trip otherwise because I was able to "live" a little.

Your next race, trip, or task, if you are struggling for motivation, consider your nature and why you are doing this. Don't worry so much about the race, but rather consider what it means to you to live, be truly alive, and experience life. Then buckle on those boots and go out and live the way that you love living however that may be.