Why has riding 'happy hard' become a bad thing?

It occurred to me when reading the answers to another post, that riding your bike at a pace that makes you happy has become viewed as a failure of some sort.
Surely the clue is in the name? Isn’t being happy the best goal you could ever aim for on the bike and indeed in life?

This all depends on context, perspective and goals (to name a few). That type of riding is great if that is what you want to do. The times it can become less than ideal or problematic relate to how it fits in the context of your riding and training plan (if you have one). These may be harder than needed if an aim is for an easier Endurance level ride, or easier than needed if the goal is some higher level of strain.

The impact of one day to the next day (and associated workout) may matter to some people more than others. Those following some form of training plan may need to pick if & when to do this type of ride vs skip it in favor of something else.

Point being that nothing is truly good/bad in our space. What matters is that item and how it relates to all that surrounds it.

  • Maybe for some, but that is not what everyone wants.

  • Some aim for a longer term goal like standing on a high podium step, nailing a goal time for an event, or even beating their best friend to the local county line sprint. In those cases, the relative “happiness” in a single workout may rate lower than the longer term goal.

  • Differences between instant gratification vs pain/gain/reward over time are worth consideration. Essentially, priorities and goals differ between everyone.


I wouldn’t call riding happy hard a bad thing unless you are riding happy hard all the time and even then if it makes you happy it isn’t really a bad thing; perhaps unproductive at most, if you are trying to optimise your overall speed long term.