During the winter months I spend a lot of time on the trainer. It’s the only time I allow myself to watch really crappy reality TV shows. One of my favorite shows is The Real Housewives of Orange County. It’s a hott mess, but I enjoy it. One of the guys in the show is a cyclist (and apparently rode in the tour, but I guess it’s debatable if it’s true or not). He once made a comment that riding his bicycle was like “going to church.” I liked that phrase and I totally get it.
Yesterday I went to “church.” It was my third time on my bike since Rev3 at the end of August. It was also my first time on my road bike since probably June. I almost fell in my driveway getting on it because I apparently left it in the hardest gear. Why? I have no clue. It was a chilly morning, but for once, it was not raining! I’m riding a Century next weekend so I figured that I should probably ride my bike once or twice so I don’t die halfway through the ride. Although, my only goal for that ride is to eat about 10 pounds of gummie bears. And if those gummie bears fuel me through those 100 miles then I might implement that as my Ironman fueling plan… 😉
Anyway, it was nice to ride without having to think about power, speed, intervals, cadence, etc. It was nice to just ride. I have always LOVED riding my bike. But, honestly, I was falling out of love riding this summer. Part of it was due to the fact that I felt I lost a lot of my bike fitness and all my bike splits in my races just plain sucked. I wasn’t where I needed or felt where I should be. It will be one of my main focuses this coming year…
One of the reasons I love riding my bike is that it’s really the only time I can actually forget about life’s stresses and just be. Hence, why I love the phrase “going to church.” People go to church to figure stuff out. I ride my bike. This past week I read the book, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. My boss suggested that I read it. I purchased it back in March, read the first chapter and put it down because I thought it was a bunch of spiritual mumbo-jumbo. I picked it back up this week and gave it a second chance. I like to believe that everything and everyone deserves a second chance in life. I still think the book is a bit of spiritual mumbo-jumbo, but there were some things in the book that really hit home with me.
The book is about living in the now. The present. It is a problem that I know I have. I live too much in the past and future. It especially happens while I’m racing. I need to work on overcoming that barrier because I know that it holds me back from my true potential. I’ve made some good progress this year with the mental aspect of racing, but I still have a long way to go.
One of section of the book was talking about the origin of fear. I found this quote interesting:
“This kind of psychological fear is always of something that might happen, not of something that is happening now. You are in the here and now, while your mind is in the future. This creates an anxiety gap. And if you are identified with your mind and have lost touch with the power and simplicity of the Now, that anxiety gap will be your constant companion.” (pg 43)
Ever since my mom passed away over three years ago I have had some issues with anxiety. It’s not terribly bad and I just deal with it on my own. Most of the time I have no problems at all, but every so often when I’m under a great deal of stress I have anxiety attacks. A lot of it has to do with the fear of unknown. I’m very much the type of person that has to plan and know exactly what is going to happen. I don’t deal well with change. I know that change is part of life and you must accept it, but it’s hard for me. Racing is all about the unknown, especially in long course. You have a plan and you try the best that you can to stick to that plan, but sometimes shit happens and you have to come up with a second plan. This happens in life too.
“Just as the moon has no light of its own, but can only reflect the light of the sun, so are past and future only pale reflections of the light, power, and reality of the eternal present. Their reality is ‘borrowed’ from the Now.” (pg 50)
Reality happens in the present. We live in the present. I can’t dwell in my past. I have a tendency to relive events in my head and try to “rewrite” history in my mind. I know that I can’t change the past and I know I shouldn’t even try. The past is what makes us “us” and it is how we learn to better our selves in the future. Accept the past and move on and live in the present. Just because I had a bad workout or race previously doesn’t mean the current one will be the same. Live one day at a time and make the best of it.
“Stress is caused by being ‘here’ but wanting to be ‘there,’ or being in the present but wanting to be in the future.” (pg 84)
Oh, this one is very true for me! I’m ambitious and a dreamer. At this point in life I have finally figured out what I want to do in the future. It has caused some stress in my life because I know that I still have more education and experience to gain before I can finally embark on my dream. I’m impatient. When I want something I want it now. I know that I need to live in the now in order to reach my future dream.
Now, what does this have to do with “going to church” and riding my bike? Everything. It is during this time that I truly live in the Now. It is nothing but me and my bike. I am lost in my leg muscles working like pistons. My breath is hot with effort and the sweat is slowly beading up on my forehead. At this moment I am working and truly in my happy place. I am in the Now with no thoughts of the past and future. Nothing but me and the road ahead.
I decided to partake on a tough 50 mile route that brought me over Douglass Mountain in Sebago. I had ridden the same route back in May before Mooseman and I decided that it was only fitting to do so again today. Solo. It was a chilly morning and a slow ride due to my severe lack of bike fitness. However, it was a beautiful ride. The Fall colors were in full swing. Fall is a time of change. We must accept that those warm summer nights that we loved have past and the cold winter mornings will begin soon. It reminded me that I must let go of the past and just enjoy the change. It’s a part of life. And that ride was exactly what I needed…