About The Bike Ride (Post III)

This is part of a series of posts about the road that led me to one of my current pursuits - a 266 miles long charitable bike ride. This is part 3 of 3.

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Epicness.

Lately I have been feeling pretty epic... which is not my norm.

In my regular day-to-day, things are pretty standard: study, work on self-development, take care of business, wait tables, and exercise in between. Nothing too out of the ordinary. 

However, since deciding to take upon a charitable bike ride, I have gotten out of my comfort zone more times than one, put myself against my own “path-of-fear”, and witnessed some amazing sights.

The great feeling I get while on my bike is not novel to me. However, I recognize that it is an excitement not otherwise felt if I simply stick to my ordinary life. When I feel that excitement, I am free, I am mighty, and most of all, I am happy. No negativism can touch that, because at that moment, negativity has no power. I get a “joyful fluster” and a jolt of self-confidence, knowing that I have and that I am all I need at that instant. I am with myself and my God, and that feeling has very much to do with going outside and wandering. So, needless to say, it has been an energizing process and a pretty great high!

Changing Gears.

When I signed up for the charitable ride, I anticipated that the training was going to be a lot of hard-work: a focused commitment and dedication to eating healthier, pedaling as much as could, building endurance, and getting faster. I was saluting my mission and setting my mind to “get the task done, and done well”, as it is customary to my nature.

However, I quickly learned that in this particular case, my way of doing things meant I would not have any fun. I am a powerfully “goal-oriented-beast”, but by golly - I am outside, I am on a bike, and surrounded by nature! Only a blatant idiot would insist in treating that as a task, not enjoying it for what it is: an opportunity to “just be”.

So, I shifted gears (pun-intended!), and I have been making a point “to just breathe” as I train. A point to take it all in, and be present. Not to be so concerned with making time and gaining speed. Of course, I have seen progress in those areas (as it is to be expected in training), but my focus has been to really enjoy whatever I am witnessing, at the moment it is happening. 

I am letting my senses commune with me and the environment, in the now, rather than elsewhere.

Glimpses From A Novice Cycler.

The pictures show a bit of what I have lived so far.

“Kelly Clarkson gets properly fitted” Fortunately for me, I have developed a good relationship with my favorite local bike shop. I adore the folks who work there, and I count on their services, as well as their kindness, and moral support. They are outstanding, genuine people, and I appreciate how graciously they take the time to teach a novice like me about gear (and I have A LOT to learn), even patiently showing me how to change a bike tire if I get a flat (thanks for that, Judah! :)

 “Arizona hides behind Ranger Camp Road”  I have encountered great views in the most inconspicuous places! Views that sometimes reminded me of areas away from Florida. I was baffled that I had not yet known how much beauty was within a short distance from me, and how much more enjoyable those sights got when seen from a cyclist’s perspective: with the wind blowing, taking it all in slowly!

“The “Highway 20 monster” is not that scary” I remember hopping on my bike, terrified to ride it on the busy road right by my house. My heart was pounding, but since I had planned to go for it, I started pedaling: a nervous, anxious-yet-excited wreck! 

I would feel cars and trucks approaching me from behind, getting ready to pass me at speeds that varied between 60-70mph. I remember thinking "please see me! Please don't kill me! I'm here! I wanna live..." The was wind blowing strong, and the only thing keeping me a little calmer was the gratifying view of the bay to my right, glistening under the morning sun, as I headed East.

After riding a while, I noticed myself cruising between a row of tall, magnificent trees. At that moment I felt grateful, joyful to be alive, and tickled at the thought that that those trees were there for my own delight. Nature seems to be the antidote to my fear: after the journey is underway, I no longer feel as fearful as I did at the beginning.

So, on that terrifying highway, I experienced a sense of womanhood and strength: I’d chosen to ride my bike that day, fighting against my urge to cower - because I am healthy and able to do it, blessed to be living and experiencing, so why should I waste it? - At that moment, the highway felt less like a menace and more like my very own playground. 

Since that “modest” (20 miles/32km) Highway 20 ride, I have gone on my longest ride yet (56.68miles/91.2km), from Navarre Beach to Fort Pickens and back. I’ve spent the better part of that day riding with my buddy John... 

...catching up on good conversations, and eating massive, well deserved meals in between.

I have met chickens when riding...

...I have been in awe...

...And I have been happy.

So, as I said before, my life is pretty standard - I work hard, I keep focused, and I make sure to plant good seeds today, that will sprout beautifully tomorrow. I have good and bad days like everyone else: sometimes I waste my time longing for what was good in the past, or worrying about what the future holds, and if I am going to be ok... Either way, it’s no use to think about that and I know it.

But I have found genuine moments of richness while training on my bike. I have been present and enjoying it all. On two wheels I have found a way to be: simply epic!