The Positive Power of Negative Suggestion

by CycleChick on April 4, 2012

There is nothing that motivates me to do something more than being told I shouldn’t do it.

You might say “it’s a chick thing”, but if you did, I’d probably call you a silly twat. Gauntlets, both literal and proverbial, have been thrown since the dawn of humanity, and both the tossing and retrieving of one has more to do with what’s in your heart than what’s in your pants.

I suppose one could argue that being told you can’t or shouldn’t do something isn’t the same as being dared to do it, but for many of us the end result is the same. Not only will I do what you’ve told me I should’t or can’t do – I am going to do the fuck out of it. Likely poorly.

One evening last fall I was at a cycling soiree – you know, one of those fancy evening things where the bike community gets together and stands around awkwardly trying to figure out who’s who without their helmet and glasses on. I was having a lovely conversation with an older gentleman I’d just met, discussing (what else) cycling and travel. I mentioned I was going to Tucson in March and excitedly described my tentative itinerary, which included the legendary Tucson Shootout.

The Shootout happens every Saturday morning, and is known far and wide as one of the best (and fastest) group rides in the U.S. It is so good, in fact, that it is regularly attended by pros doing their spring training in Tucson. An intimidating ride for sure, but I wanted to see and experience it first hand – if only for the millisecond before I got dropped like a baby giraffe.

No sooner had the word “Shootout” shot out of my mouth than the gentleman started to laugh and shake his head. When he had composed himself, he told me I’d never be able to do the Shootout. Or something to that effect – I couldn’t quite make out the words because of the murderous hissing in my head. I smiled politely and shrugged my shoulders, knowing the Shootout had now moved from tentative to mandatory.

Before you get the impression that me and my bull-headed brethren are reckless yahoos that will throw all cation to the wind just to prove something, this inclination only applies to things we actually want to do, and will not hurt or gross us out in any way whatsoever. You can double and triple dare me, call me the biggest pussy in the world, but I will never EVER eat a whole bowl of radishes. Or wear a pink jersey with flowers or butterflies on it. Ever.

But if there is something just beyond my ability or comfort zone – something I am considering but doing my damnedest to talk myself out of – telling me I can’t do it is the surest way on God’s green earth to make me try.

How is it that while our own little self-doubts hold us back from new challenges, the doubts of one nay-sayer is all it takes to pick up that gauntlet and shove it right up their chamois? Is it pride? Maybe. Is it immaturity? Fart. Whatever it is, it gets me off the couch and out doing something that generally involves personal discomfort.

Speaking of discomfort, the Shootout was positively awesome.p.s. I would like to add a special note of thanks to the anonymous individual who, on this very blog a couple of years ago told me I shouldn’t race again.  If it wasn’t for you, I probably wouldn’t have.


I quadruple dare you.

by Scott W on April 4, 2012 at 5:11 pm. Reply #

Nope. Still wouldn’t.

by CycleChick on April 5, 2012 at 2:23 am. Reply #

Never ever say never.. .especially in reference to items of clothing. There very well could be the mostest beautifulest pink jersey with flowers or butterflies on it in your future. You just never know.

by Meg on April 4, 2012 at 7:06 pm. Reply #

Typically I would agree. I swore I would never wear flared pants. Or wedges. But in this case, it would be a cold day in hell.

by CycleChick on April 5, 2012 at 2:24 am. Reply #

Nothing gets my goat more than having an old goat (or even a young goat) tell me I can’t do something. It’s not like they came out of the womb knowing how to do everything.

by Elizabeth M. on April 4, 2012 at 7:48 pm. Reply #

I like Meg.

by Michelle on April 4, 2012 at 9:09 pm. Reply #

Me too. : )

by CycleChick on April 5, 2012 at 2:25 am. Reply #

Oh boy… can I ever relate to this post Andrea. I love it. And I’m so proud of you!

by Sarah on April 5, 2012 at 12:36 am. Reply #

Thanks Sarah. Right back at you!

by CycleChick on April 5, 2012 at 2:28 am. Reply #

Found your blog 2 weeks ago while doing some online shopping for cycling clothing. No idea how I got to your blog but glad I did.

I’m a male Clydesdale, live in Winnipeg, and took up cycling in 2007. Your blog posts absolutely slay me and I must check for new posts twice, at least, every day.

“Not only will I do what you’ve told me I shouldn’t or can’t do – I am going to do the fuck out of it.” That pretty much is about the coolest quote I’ve heard in some time.

As a small sign my grade 9 English teacher, Mrs. Beafus, had posted on her desk “Illegitimi non carborundum.” Translated from Latin, loosely, means “don’t let the bastards grind you down.”

Cheers and thanks for making my day, yet again.

by Grant on April 5, 2012 at 1:39 am. Reply #

Nice to meet you Grant! I am thrilled you found me and flattered beyond words. Hope to see you on the road this summer. Some of my favourite people are Clydesdales. Cheers!

p.s. Mrs. Beafus sounds like a pretty cool chick.

by CycleChick on April 5, 2012 at 2:34 am. Reply #

HA! You can’t do this….

And as I just now found out… I can’t either… it turns out that it was an April Fools Joke!!! ARG! A pretty good one at that! I even searched the CBC website looking for the contestants sign up page! Now I am deflated.

Anyway, I generally believe if someone tells me I couldn’t do something it is because they know they couldn’t and they don’t believe we are any better than them. I was scoffed at for wanting to do the Axel Merckx Granfondo last year in Penticton. I did it and while I wasn’t last I certainly finished all 160 km of it and was damn glad I did.

Are we sure this Tough as Tuft show is a joke??


by Drewm on April 5, 2012 at 2:48 am. Reply #

How cool is that! I think there should be a show like that. Although Johnny Hoogerland would always win. Good for you for doing the Gran Fondo – that one is on my (ever expanding) bucket list.

Stay tough! Cheers.

by CycleChick on April 5, 2012 at 1:01 pm. Reply #

if i look up badass in the dictionary i am sure it will have a picture off you…. lmfao

by Fred Quimby on April 5, 2012 at 11:22 pm. Reply #

Details, woman, details please!! Did you hang? Did you drop? How fast was it? Were any pro’s out? Why must you bait and tease? Awe, forget it, you probably dropped after the first 5K and will NEVER do it again (hope that works for ya… :).

by RJ on April 6, 2012 at 1:49 am. Reply #

RJ you know the buttons to push! It was amazing – we started with about 30 riders, picking up more along the way. We rode through the city in the most calm manner you can imagine – through roundabouts and intersections in complete silence. No squealing brakes, no yelling. Incredible. Such skilled and experienced riders!

Once outside the city the pace really picked up. The road is a 2-3% incline and we were at 35, then 40, then 45… I held on as long as I could but when it hit 50-55 I had to call uncle. We had ridden up Mount Lemmon the day before and just didn’t have the legs. But we did pick up a good group of other dropped riders and rode in with about 10-12 people at a good clip.

It was amazing. And hard. And amazing. I’m told it was pretty “relaxed” for the shootout. By that time of year most or all of the pros have left to start racing. So it’s merely the semi-pros, cat 1-3 racers and a handful of we mere mortals.

I’d do it again in a heartbeat, but with a good day of rest the day before. And maybe a tow rope.

by CycleChick on April 6, 2012 at 1:03 pm. Reply #

you shouldn’t post anymore…you’re not funny enough

by Luc on April 8, 2012 at 3:06 pm. Reply #

Hey Luc, welcome back. Glad you didn’t get eaten by a panther.

by CycleChick on April 8, 2012 at 3:45 pm. Reply #

[...] double dare you not to [...]

by Cycling is for Girls « Winnipeg CycleChick on April 19, 2012 at 12:07 pm. Reply #

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