Spring is here in Vancouver and yesterday I headed out for a 3+ hour training ride. I haven’t been out on my bike much lately, certainly not much by last years (Ironman training) standard. In fact, this 3 hour ride was quite daunting and I doubted that I was fit enough or ready for it. I haven’t been training, I’m not on my bike regularly and it seems as though both of these things should be something you have in your arsenal before taking on what seems like a big task.
It was very easy for me to post pone the ride saying that I would train more this week and next week I would be in a better position to take it on, but since Powered By Noie is one of my priorities, I just shut down all my excuses and pulled up my bike shorts.
It was just about an hour into my ride when I was out of the city cruising along a long quiet strip of road with the mountains in the background, not a cloud in the endless blue sky, feeling the sun heat up my face and my head bobbing to the song I was singing in my head when I caught myself smiling ear to ear. Thank goodness I dropped my lame excuses for not going out for a ride.
What an AWESOME day. As it does though, the buzz wears off when things get challenging. On my way home, I was riding directly into a headwind and slightly uphill for a good stretch. This is a regular route for me so I’m completely familiar with this false flat illusion and the toll it takes on you. Tired legs, relentless headwind general discomfort from being on your bike for this long etc etc. I was already prepared for this to be an unpleasant ride home from this point.
Then something surprising happened. I found rhythm. My pedal stroke became stronger, my legs felt solid, my position on the bike felt perfectly in place and I was cruising. I must have passed 5 or more people on this stretch that looked as I had expected myself to feel. Grinding away, pushing through the uphill stretch, digging in and enduring the wind. With my lack of training this year I expected that most of my riding would be laborious and I expected that. This was a pleasant surprise.
So I didn’t question my rhythm, I simply let it move me.
Isn’t it funny how our expectations and assumptions can get in our way? How its usually our own selves that create our biggest obstacles and doubt. For years I have been passed or dropped on the bike, many times on this very stretch of road. I assume that the person passing me has had many years more experience than me, has been training longer and harder or that they know something about riding bikes that I don’t. But maybe on that day they had just found their rhythm. Maybe the people I passed yesterday made those same assumptions about me, when really, I was just not questioning how everything was coming together, but just letting it happen.
Next time I’m faced with a daunting task I will remember today.
I will not let my lack of experience stop me from doing something.
I will try even though I don’t think I’m ready.
I will not assume someone is better, stronger, faster.
I will find my own rhythm.