Trends are cool, patterns are powerful, fractals are fundamental and so is meditation. If you haven’t tried meditation yet…”it sounds hard, I don’t get it, sounds boring”, then I would strongly suggest you invest some more time in yourself.
Finding success in all walks of life, including athletic goals, requires strong mental fortitude. Would you start the race season without riding your bike? Thinking that you can just power through it and still win the race….ya right, that would be incredibly naive and a giant waste of your race fee investment. So why do you go to that same race without confronting your own consciousness before hand?
In silence, we can learn a great many things about ourselves that no nutrition book, coach’s interval session or game of Sudoku can teach us. So be courageous and follow the inflow and outflow of your breathe. You never know what you may discover.
It’s dark, raining, cold, and slippery, but instinct is conquering habit so I keep pedaling. Bright reds and whites glare off the glossy black of the surface out ahead of my handlebar spotlight. Shoulders hunched up close to my ears, forehead tipped down slightly, I squint my eyes away from the beating raindrops.
Out of the saddle, my legs flick underneath effortlessly. My gloves, still dry but dampening, warm my fingers as I gingerly navigate through the many slippery urban obstacles. The dinner in my tummy is now almost digested and I feel lighter and faster after each kilometer pedaled. Is commuting to dinner with friends better on the way to or on the way home? Balancing baguettes or pedaling out the flaky pastries?
Either way I don’t want to stop riding, I don’t want to stop moving forward. Sometimes it is the fight to stay upright, something that a cyclist can almost take for granted on dry roads, that reconnects an experienced rider with the joyful early days of bike riding. And as in life, sometimes those wobbles make the day and the journey worth remembering.
December 11th, 2011: After a long but “interesting” day on the Greyhound bus, I arrived back in Canada after 2.5 months of hard zone 2 training in Walla Walla, Washington. Although not quite home, staying the night in Vancouver on a friend’s couch, I head down to the coffee shop to find some internet. Breathing in the fresh winter air and squinting against the rising but low-angled sun, my ‘greyhound’ lungs clear and my eyes gently tear. Starting to feel human again now two days after my last real training session, I’m optimistic that I can bounce back from tomorrow’s dental surgery. It will be an operation that will pull me off the bike for 3 weeks, an operation that has single-handedly structured my entire off-season. My career depends how well I come back from tomorrow and how efficiently I can regain my fitness in January.
The thin paper cup of hot chocolate cradled in my hands gently burns my finger tips, and tingles against the roof of my mouth as I take the first gulp of ‘comfort’ food in months. Becoming lost in the over-sized leather seats adjacent to the cafe’s fireplace, I settle in and let my shoulders and low back slouch into the plush support. Wrapped under a thick winter top and covered by a grey toque, knowing that two months of hard work is “in the bank”, I relax and exhale.
Opening my laptop I surf through the usual social media and cycling news articles. The “regular” articles are there, scandal and words larger than legs. Then I see it! Gastown returns! Global Relay is pumping a big interest into our sport! Immediately I email my teammates…”WE HAVE TO GO TO THIS RACE”.
The next day I went into surgery with a goal, a goal made even more crystal clear by the news that Gastown, the biggest 1 day race in Canada, would return after a four year hiatus: I would be the national champion come its start line. #make it so.
BC Superweek 2012: Gastown GP: 30,000 spectators + 25 year race history = Best Call Up of my Life