Hey, this is fun! :)

April 18, 2012

In one of my first posts on this blog, I said this:

I realized that I was totally free from the “idea” of riding the bike. I was simply, and beautifully, riding the bike.  Seems such a small distinction, but it was quite magic.

As the boundaries between bike and rider, between effort and freedom, between work and reward, dissolved, I found myself inside the music in my ears.  Traveling in a beautiful, timeless, almost synaesthetic space.  Aware but unfocused.  Present but not deliberate.  Abandoned to the sheer delight of the ride.

In a flash of inspiration during my most recent ride, I realized that I maybe hadn’t fully expressed the distinction.  It wasn’t only that I was free from the “idea” of riding the bike – it’s that for that brief span of time, riding the bike was easy, free, and fun – it wasn’t “hard work”.

I had this insight during this most recent ride because all at once, I realized that for most of the time I’ve been riding the bike – roughly 8 months now – the over-riding sensation for the majority of each ride (other than “freedom”), has been that of effort.  I was quite out of shape when I started, and had yet to develop any technique on the bike – regarding gearing, moderation of effort, in-ride nutrition, hydration, etc – and, as well, I had yet to develop the leg strength that I have now, making almost all sets of conditions harder on me then than they would be now.  In short, I hadn’t yet evolved “my style”.  As a result, most stretches of most rides were “work”.

It was a wonderful insight to have, because I realized that it’s been only quite recently that this teeter-totter of effort has tipped in favor of enjoyment rather than effort.  To be sure, riding the bike for 15-20-25 mile stretches isn’t “easy” for me, but, succinctly, the portion of the ride which is characterized by enjoyment and “the sheer delight of the ride” has now, for at least most rides, surpassed the portion in which “hard work” predominates.

Obviously it’s not true 100% of the time.  As mentioned in this post, for example, rolling hills are still hard work for me, and I’m eager to continue improving my fitness so as to minimize their impact.  And there’s always headwinds, which are (if sufficiently strong) still hard work for me.  But, I am very delighted to recognize that, as a result of my efforts and diligence and patience, I’m now starting to reap the rewards in the blessing of really starting to enjoy the majority of most rides, as well as the increasing ability to ride further and therefore stay immersed in the experience.

I already couldn’t wait to get back on the bike each day over the past many months; now that I’ve attained at least a certain level of competence and evolved my style, and therefore increased my enjoyment in the whole pursuit, it’s only that much more fun and exciting to me now.  There’s not many things I’d rather do.

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