I am a sap for the movie "It's a Wonderful Life." Something about the theme, always present in Frank Capra movies, that one person can make a difference. Despite George Bailey's belief that he was a failure, his brother, a war hero, calls him the richest man in town because of the number of friends that George had who would help him no matter what.
For me, cycling can be a metaphor for life. Sometimes, as in life, it is difficult to gauge one's efforts. It's not like any of us is winning the Tour any time soon. But, words spoken by other riders have had a great impact.
This past season, after a local group ride, one of the regulars rode up next to me and said "Hey, I like riding with you C4 guys, you always ride together, you know, as a team. You don't always see that out here." As a team, we had been trying to do exactly that... to help each other as much as we could during each ride. To have someone outside of our very small circle see it, recognize it and then say something to me about it felt great.
Similarly, in July, two friends that I often ride with told me that they thought I was riding stronger, more aggressive than they had seen me ride before. This had a similar effect on me because I had recently crashed and was concerned about being sheepish in the group.
When I see someone riding well, I tell them so, because like George Bailey, we may not be able to see it.