19 January 2008

Feeling The Joy

Somebody asked the other day how to “keep the joy alive in cycling” over a long period of time. Well, I feel very unmotivated to ride right now. I am positive that the very next time I get on my bike, it will be different, but my New Year's Day ride was the last of a very long string of things that were planned and organized and that I felt like I 'had to' participate in for one reason or another, and I'm DONE! Done as social director for my bike club, which takes me out of the feeling of being needed every weekend for club rides. Done with the R-12 pursuit, done with that silly challenge with Pansy Palmetto, done with meeting and exceeding every goal I set for myself, with the exception of completing a full brevet series - which isn't all that important until 2010. But why do I ride? I ride for pleasure, pure and simple. I love to be on my bicycle. I love the wind in my ears, the smells, sounds, scenery, thrills and all that goes along with cycling. I like being free from the car. I love being a true part of my surroundings instead of caged up and apart from it all. I find great joy, peace and harmony when I am on my bike early in the morning and there's nobody else up yet. I hear the roosters, watch the sunrise, feel the early morning moist air and then start to smell the bacon frying and coffee brewing as I ride past peoples' houses and farms, and I just get this rush of intense happiness that is second to none. I'll be riding along in a pace line at 20 mph and suddenly, without warning, have this incredible need to back out of the line, excuse myself and cut speed to 12 and coast along through the countryside, simply in a state of meditation, listening for the quiet voice of my Higher Power, giving thanks for my life and all the blessings I've received, experiencing the freedom that I tend to take for granted so often. And I must admit that, even when I've been totally obsessed with some mileage goal, when I'm striving hard to meet some challenge I've set for myself, when I'm riding around the lake in the rain on a cold and dark night because I want to be able to jump up and down and crow about how strong I am, when I'm a mile from the summit of an 18 mile climb and my legs are crying out in protest, my lungs feel like they're burning up and my heart is about to jump out of my chest, I STILL have no problem feeling the joy and appreciating why I do this. I do it because I love doing it. Tuesday afternoon we were finishing up "Mr. Don's First Century Of The Year" ride. The course is actually only about 87 miles, but I wanted to have a full century. My friend Ralph contemplated riding on with me as I was going to ride to Woodinville for a burger and back, but he said he didn't need to do 13 "junk miles" just to get more miles. His level of 'joy' and mine are two different things. I'd never done a 100 mile ride this early in the year before, and to me there is no such thing as a 'junk' mile on a bike. The 'extra' 13 miles I did over the next hour were spent in quiet contemplation, prayer and meditation, as I focused my energies on my friends who, for one reason or another, are unable to ride right now, many of them sporting a big Red Cross next to their names here. That ain't junk, folks! Not to me, anyway. And if I wouldn't have done that little added loop, I would have missed seeing two bald eagles.And then came Wednesday morning, back to work, a little rain falling and I got on the bus. And the next day? Raining again when my toes touched the floor and it was off to the bus again. And then came Friday, and yep, bussing it again. Until this morning, I just haven’t felt motivated to get out there and ride. Of course, the up side is that I’ve gotten some things done around the house that really need to get done, but I have started to miss that wonderful feeling the joy of my bike brings me, and when Tom and Megan came over so that Megan and Mimi could head off to Grandma’s house to talk wedding plans, it was an ideal opportunity for me to spirit my boy off on a little social cruise around the neighborhood. And the motivation is starting to come back. It was, again, so much fun to be out there, laughing, chatting our way around the little 17.5 mile course and sharing lunch at Pert’s Deli, you know where I’ll be tomorrow. And the next day……

1 comment:

mimitabby said...

Cannot imagine you ever losing your joy for biking for more than a few days.