Today the weather was sunny and warmer than it has been, with little wind, a perfect day to bike. I wasn’t feeling perfectly, and in fact was laying outside trying to get some Vitamin D on my skin. I had to go to the post office so at 4:59 I finally got on Sophie the Fairdale Weekender Archer. Errand complete, we headed towards my familiar stomping on the pedal grounds, the Southern Walnut Creek Trail. Let me tell you about it.
Even a Walk in the Park Still Requires Effort
The thing about bicycling is that even going downhill takes work. Whether you are resting or still pedaling to pour on the speed, you’re still always balancing, looking for obstacles, dealing with the elements, and moving your body through space. Simply going mile after mile adds turbulence from all the bouncing around, there’s pressure on the body where it meets the seat, handlebars and pedals, and you’re always planning for the next curve, uphill or stop. My point is that it’s all effort and calories are expended throughout. Which is part of what makes bicycling a great workout. At least until your body adapts and you need to go farther and faster or harder to improve.
Anyway, all those factors I mentioned, added to he speed and power you put out, do wear you down. If you’re like me at my age with imperfect health, you already have some wear and tear on you. Frequent readers will know I use the term “fathlete” a good bit. Despite all my biking and eliminating flour, I do fight the battle of the bulge. That’s partly hereditary genetic stuff, somewhat diet and a good bit of addiction to sugar. Also, I’m only as good as the previous night’s sleep, which usually means I’m tired, so I lack power. I’m like Scotty on Star Trek (the original), always yelling at Captain Kirk on the comms, “We need more power, Cap’n! I can’t get her movin’ any faster!” Translation: I ain’t fast, but I get there.
Thoughts Are Things; Be Careful With Them
There’s no escaping the body-mind connection; one can’t exist without the other. When I go biking, my mental game is key. So should yours be. Even before you begin, I find it helps to visualize my goal, and how I’ll accomplish it. Know your limits, too. You don’t have to be a ray of sunshine, beams of brightness coming out of your butt. Sometimes when I being a bike ride, I’m in a foul mood. But the exertion and concentration that biking, like most any sports, requires you to pay attention. If you don’t, you can make some bad decisions that mess up your activity. One moment of inattention and you could end up flying off the trail, bonking because you didn’t think to eat or drink enough, or simply having a lousy time because your brain is elsewhere. And oh, yeah, nature is super restorative. We think we’ve evolved to not need it, but we do. Like, often. Earth, sky, water, birds, deer, rabbits, bugs, trees: what’s unnatural to NOT be around these things regularly.
Cycling has a great way of banishing foul moods, or at least putting them to the side for a while. If you work hard you will probably get a burst of endorphins and you’ll be feeling alot better by the time you dismount. The focus required to stay upright can do wonders to banish bad brain juju. This was the case with me today. I was NOT feeling it when I began, but I had that errand to do and it was on the way to the trail. I just knew that once I got going, my love of the sport would kick in, and my body and mind would connect and rise to meet the challenge. I mean, 25 miles ain’t nothin’! Did it cure all my ailments? No, of course not. But I squeezed my brain and bod out like a sponge, and whatever was worrying me before doesn’t seem quite as big a deal now. Cool, right?!
Finishing Is Just the Beginning
I finished my ride by stopping in a drugstore where I lucked upon some protein bars at 75% clearance. After I returned home, I had one with a large glass of water. Of course I share my event on Strava for whomsoever there wants to comment. I’ll even say hi to people on Strava with whom I’ve had flybys. I should immediately shower off and wash my bike kit, but today I was feeling a bit laxy, and plan to bathe later. Anyway, I then hit the yoga mat for my daily 30 minutes of gentle movement. My daily five-year, three-month strong mindful stretching practice is fantastic for integrating and smoothing out the effort I made on the bike. It’s a soothing balm on the sometimes stressful effects of this or any sport. I highly recommend it. It’s a way to honor yourself and thank your body for sustaining the effort your mind envisioned.
Some other things to help tame the savage beast includes calming music. Maybe you want to do some blogging, journaling, talking with others or just reflecting on the new memories created. Being aware of the feeling of post-workout soreness and noticing the change in disposition are also good things to do. After this, I’ll have a nice meal and relax with a book or show or something. Tonight is a special treat, a bath! Now that I’ve moved to a place with a bathtub, I intend to use it. Alas it’s only temporary, but it’s a key requirement for my next abode. Point is, these sort of post-workout activities all help the brain and physical being to process the experience.
Was the ride my fastest, or at least have alot of Personal Records? No. Did I get in some good exercise and feel proud that I did what I could rather than stay home and do nothing (which also has its value)? Of course. So to reiterate a big point of this blog: If I can do it, so can you! Maybe you’re a far better cyclist than I, in which case maybe you don’t need my encouragement. Or maybe you do, I don’t know. But wherever you are in your fitness journey, I encourage you to keep trying to find ways to challenge yourself. As a yoga teacher I had likes to say,
“Find the place of “sweet discomfort.” Go to your edge, and back off a bit so you can sustain the effort. It’s there that you’ll find growth and other good stuff. Get out there and ride!— Abby Lenz, Heavyweight Yoga
Thank you for visiting me on WordPress or www.ADudeAbikes.com. Feel free to add your Likes and Comments and to Follow the blog through WordPress if you have it, or by email. Contact me on the About page with any questions. Please feel free to Re-blog and Share as long as you give credit and the permalink to this post.
© Copyright 2019 A Dude Abikes. All rights reserved.