play against each other

aha! competition, like cocaine fires you up like nothing else. this isn't a recommendation for either of the two, but humans have been known to always compete against each other no matter the activity.

fun is fundamental

in recent times, the resurgence of young people playing with the idea of fun and creating for the sake of creating has made me very happy. ever since the obsession of play grabbed me by the balls, i’ve been in a state of fun beyond desire or fear.

two sides of the coin

whenever i get down to doing something, i’m driven by either fear or desire. when i was younger, desire was more likely to drive my decisions and actions. as i got older even if the decisions and actions were the same it would more likely be driven by fear.

case in point, getting high was born of the desire to explore but soon it was the fear of withdrawal pains that drove me to continue getting high. i’m sure you’ll have relatively less extreme examples from your own life to understand the binary motivations of fear and desire.

since they’re two sides of the same coin, i’m always oscillating between my fears and my desires. there seems to be no escaping this contrasting yet constant interplay of these two forces. detachment from the avarice associated with ambition always felt sterile and impotent to me. and i was always hunting for a way that reached out to me without engulfing me like my hedonic past.

playing on the edge

fun on the other hand is beyond both fear and desire. remember fear is based on that which is behind us while desire is based on that which is ahead of us. only fun is obsessed on where we are right here.

what are the odds that a flipped coin will land on it’s edge? well, as slim as it is, fun is that edge that we seek - that unlikely chance that we can dance on the edge instead of falling on either face. why, you ask? because the edge is where the magic lies.

fun is that active state of detachment to the outcome and the result. but it still feels playful and exciting rather than insipid and uninspiring. there’s the constant challenge of staying on that edge that is tantalisingly effective at focusing one’s attention in the moment and not away from it, either on the future or in the past.

two heads are better than one

i’m not talking about heads or tails of the coin in question. i’m referring to the people or playmates involved in the game. when driven by fear or desire, competition makes me self obsessed and more likely to only think of my own fear and desire, not the group’s or the team.

when fun is the focus, the spirit of competition is replaced by that of celebration. how can i maximise my fun by involving and engaging more playmates in the game i play? we don’t need to win in order to celebrate with others. fun is a celebration of the process of play.

the game is challenging and is designed to test one’s limits, to stretch those limits and take one beyond them as well. in the  midst of such a journey of growth and development, the presence of playmates can make this not just effortless but also enjoyable.

are you having fun today?

we have all embraced the obsession to measure and quantify everything we do. money is certainly quantifiable but even fame is no longer just ‘world famous’. you have to count your followers before you’ve hatched. in such a world, i ask you again…

are you having fun; right here, right now?

when we think of all the achievements and accomplishments of all the men and women through history, we appreciate their struggles, trials and tribulations. but what about fun?

why aren’t we giving out a Nobel prize for the scientist who’s had the most fun while attempting to discover or invent something (even if he failed at it!). after all, my earliest memories of a scientist was always the stereotypical absent minded scientist, who was always challenging children with curious and mischievous experiments intended to inspire more than educate.

here’s an experiment for you. ditch your regular metrics and attempt to quantify the fun quotient in everything you do. tell me how you fare.

comparing your skills against your riding buddy's is a precursor to competition whether you choose to actually engage in a race to the finish line or not. games can include playing with balance, popping wheelies, racking up miles, reaching remote locations, etc. in a friendly 'just for fun' environment of oneupmanship amongst your buddies.

not all rides are going to be adrenaline inducing or offer mind blowing views to write home about. but you can infuse fun into every ride in many ways. competition is often the easiest with something as simple as 'race you to the top' or 'last one there is the winner'. yup, slow races can be super challenging without being daringly dangerous. and when you're playing for fun, it really doesn't matter who wins or loses, everyone gains a bucket load of fun!

gamifying your group

it's important to realize competing even have to be skill based, you can use competition to regularize riding and increase attendance amongst your group. when that one guy in the group is always missing out on rides, adding an element of competition might inspire him to ride more often. we can started heralding the person who's always carrying munchies for everyone, or the one who's always doing the hard work of marking off-road gpx maps to guide the ride.

your rank in the off-road riding community does not depend on you fighting your way up the pecking order in competition but it's fun fosho! that said, for those of you looking for fame and fortune, y'all are playing for keeps so you need to engage in structured races organized by authorised local/national/international sport associations. here's a few types of races you can pick from:

pick your poison

competitive off-road or adventure riding is a broad style of motorcycling that encompasses various styles, types, and categories catering to different preferences and skill sets:

  1. enduro: enduro riding combines elements of off-road racing and endurance. riders navigate through challenging terrains, including trails, woods, hills, and obstacles. enduro events are typically held over long distances and require riders to showcase their skills in various off-road conditions.
  2. motocross: motocross is a high-intensity, closed-course racing sport held on specially designed dirt tracks. it involves jumps, sharp turns, and challenging obstacles. motocross events are often divided into different classes based on engine displacement and rider skill levels.
  3. rally raid: rally raid, also known as cross-country rally, is an adventure sport that combines off-road riding and navigation skills. competitors ride long distances over multiple days, navigating through different terrains using roadbooks or gps systems. the most famous example of rally raid is the dakar rally.
  4. hard enduro: hard enduro events are known for their extreme difficulty and demanding off-road courses. these races push riders to their limits with rugged terrain, steep hills, rocky sections, and challenging obstacles. popular hard enduro events include erzbergrodeo, romaniacs, and hell's gate.
  5. adventure rallies: adventure rallies are long-distance, multi-day events designed to test riders' endurance, navigation skills, and adaptability. participants embark on adventurous journeys, navigating through diverse landscapes and terrains while overcoming various challenges along the way. examples include the bmw motorrad international gs trophy and the honda africa twin adventure sports challenge.
  6. trials: trials riding is a technical discipline that requires riders to navigate through obstacles without touching the ground with their feet. it demands precise control, balance, and finesse as riders conquer sections consisting of rocks, logs, and other challenging terrain features.
  7. cross-country racing: cross-country racing involves long-distance races held on natural terrain, such as forests, deserts, or open fields. riders compete to complete a designated course in the shortest time possible, facing varying challenges along the way.

these are some examples of the diverse styles, types, and categories of competitive off-road and adventure riding. each discipline offers its own unique challenges and attracts riders with different preferences and skill sets. whether it's the speed and adrenaline of motocross or the endurance and navigation skills required in rally raid, there's a style of off-road competition for every one of you adventure enthusiasts out there. pick your poison.

if you're still curious about competition, you might find the rest of this post insightful...

healthy and happy competition

whatever your goals and however desperate you are to win, you might wanna take a step back and look at the big picture every once in a while. ask yourself why you started riding in the first place - is your competitive streak taking you closer to that goal or away from it?

making friends is challenging enough, but staying friends is often even tougher. and the ride is not always going to be fun and games. how do you make sure it is always moving forward regardless? how do you stay together without wanting to walk away, or worse, destroy each other? how indeed?

the outcome of the game is less important than the spirit with which you play. give it your all and push your limits but don't hurt yourself or others in the process. it's just a game, and not worth losing life or limb to. as i love to remind y'all, safety is the foundation for your ability to keep playing long into the future.

competition is also irrelevant

collaboration and cooperation may be more effective and meaningful than competition. so you may find yourself drawn to projects that emphasize collective efforts over individual.

even personally, some of us find contentment in pursuing self-improvement without necessity for an enemy at the gates.

in some situations, competition may not only be irrelevant but also detrimental when players turn hostile and behave unethically. ultimately, significance and relevance of competition depends on context and individuals involved.

competition can be a driving force for fun, growth and progress, but don't lose balance and remember that collaboration can offer all that without rivalry as fuel.

this is my journey with motorcycles and mud, wanna ride with me?