The Size of the Fight

September 2, 2012

First in what will become an ongoing series of “cycling as metaphor” musings.

I tend to introspect/meditate on whatever interests me, and have intended for some time now to initiate a series of blog posts on “cycling as metaphor” – in which I reflect on things seen/heard/thought/experienced during bike riding which act as a mirror or metaphor of daily life.  A moment during a recent ride provided the debut 🙂

Mark Twain incisively observed, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

The other day during a portion of a ride taking me through a particularly rural area, a very small dog came running down his drive and into the road to bark at me and chase me as I went by. Not unusual for dogs to do this to cyclists – my first time of many since was chronicled here – but on this occasion I marveled at the boldness of the little beast.  This thing couldn’t have weighed more than several pounds and wasn’t more than two feet in any dimension, yet here he was, protecting his property and bidding me continue on my way with all the ferocity his little body could muster.

The analogy struck a chord with me somewhere.  I set a couple cycling goals for myself for this year which at the time were pretty optimistic; and similarly, I have much bigger grand cycling dreams for the next 24 months.  These are notions that, from my very humble start (I couldn’t ride more than 3 miles on flat terrain without needing to take a break, when I first bought my Wal-Mart starter bike a couple years ago), seem as unlikely as that little dog’s chances of intimidating me.

But, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight.  And happily, unlikely the instincts of this little animal, humans can choose to shape their natures and direct their will.  The dreams I have in mind would have been unimaginable to me 2, 3 years ago; and even now they are monumental and difficult to reach; but that’s what exactly what dreams should be.


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