Sunday, May 19, 2013

Cycling and Life: Breaking Through to Joy

Anything that was a first love can become burdensome in time. Over these last years it’s been a battle to get out and ride. I would get out, ride and remember how much I enjoy it. Then I would do a long ride and choke because I’d not put in the time on the bike to build up enough to make the long rides a fun challenge. Instead they were a challenge that left me frustrated at the end of every one.

Life just got in the way. I hear stories of people that work full time and are married with children in high school. They spend hours every day riding then ride for long chunks on the weekend. It’s a trade off-it always is. The people I know that know these riders say they keep it all balanced. I find that difficult to believe.

This January I signed up to ride the Lake Almanor 100 mile Bike Ride with a friend. One hundred miles is a long way so I began to take training seriously. Last month a funny thing happened. In the middle of a seventy mile ride the joy returned. The ride was still difficult but I felt a joy in riding that I’ve not felt for many seasons. As I’ve pushed myself to consistently ride I am back to enjoying the challenge. The discipline is still difficult but the joy has returned.

I suspect that in both simple and weighty endeavors there is this cycle (as it were). We may push and stay invested in the battle but there are long seasons that it is just drudgery. Then somehow we invest of ourselves as much as we feel we can, then a little more than that, and the grind goes and expectant perseverance takes over. The trick is this: We never know when the grunting will turn to a joyful challenge. The change is in the persevering.

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