Another answer to the question "Why I ride". All of the quotes I list in one way or another have been a similar experience for me, and I;m sure you too.
"Because it's hard. When I think back on my most memorable rides, they are 80 and 100-mile singletrack forays into the backcountry. They have monster climbs, explore new territory, and sometimes end with heavy, cold mountain rain. But I survived. I dug deep, and stayed on my bike and thrived".
This was a quote form Jenn Dice who lives in Colorado.