I was watching this interview with a guy who finished 4th in the grueling Transcontinental Race, a sub-10-day unsupported ride from Flanders to Istanbul (after coming down with bronchitis on day 1!).
Even though he was obviously very focused on the competition, he does say something about every day being a competition against yourself, and it made me think: actually all of these ultra-endurance events are a competition between the best parts of yourself, and the worst parts: an inner fight between light and dark.
Your angels against your demons.
Some of us just need to work that hard for our self-esteem!
It goes a long way to explaining the "why?" that is so often leveled at us endurance-junkies by people who can never imagine challenging themselves in this way.