Get Bent -or- Relax and Enjoy the Ride

I’m posting this on both of my blogs, I feel like this was relevant to both.

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This morning was the first time I rode the 15.5 mile trek to my workplace. This is something I thought would be unattainable for a while, but I found a new trick. Today, I rode differently.

As of late, I’ve been learning a serious lesson with God, that is beginning to finally set me at ease.

I waste a serious amount of energy trying to speed up. Really. I hurt myself trying to go fast and ‘get-it-done’ here and and now.

So I’m going to use the cycling as an example.

I’m not that fast, moderate maybe, but by no means am I fast. I’m averaging about 14.5 mph. That’s not terrible, but it certainly won’t win me any races. I’m also no Lance Armstrong, nor will I ever be. That’s okay. I’m a husband, a servant of my Church, a dad, a writer and recorder of music both for myself and other people… in short, I’ve got plenty of things that I WILL excel at, I’m determined- but I’m not planning on winning any races. And again, that’s okay.

But I’ve found that I have this approach to life that will kill me if it continues.

You see, I want everything fast. I want to push harder. I want the numbers. I wanna rip it up NOW!!!

But I have absolutely no endurance.

I’ve had this view of hills, attacking the hills with my bike, that’s just all wrong. I have this urge to be faster on the hills, but I’m tired, so tired heading up them.

Ya know why? It’s because I get frustrated at how slow I’ve been going up each hill, and then I hammer so stinkin hard down the other side, desperate to get my speed average up. It’s all about my stupid ego… but this is not sustainable.

Those downhill rides are when I should be resting. I should be letting the breeze blow on my face and take in every second of it. I have to ride in a restful state.

I found a trick. Those hills aren’t the problem- it’s my urgency to be at the top that’s the problem. I don’t want to crawl along at 7mph. I hate it. But if I accept it- if I save my energy for it- wow, what a difference.

Normally, I can’t do much more than 6 or 7 up the steep hills- today, 9, 10, even 12mph. Ya know why? It’s because I wasn’t anxious about the hills. I accepted them. In fact, today, I enjoyed them. They’re pretty much just as easy to ride. The only difference is you’ve got to get down in that low gear and relax, and let the bike get there. And when you crest the top, enjoy the descent.

The descent is a gift from God.

We have it in our nature to conquer… it’s there, we love it. But I’m finding that I expend far more energy trying to conquer like the warrior I envision, than if I lean back, and just let the hills come. I don’t have to race to the top.

That’s where the title comes in here. I ride a recumbent. It’s a laid back bike where you relax in a reclined position, and you can really use your legs and get some long term work done.

When people sit on it for the first time, they always want to grip those handle bars and kick off with the force that you put into an upright… but it simply won’t work. You have to lean back, kick off and go. Relax your back- it won’t help you. Don’t grip your handle bars- it won’t help you. rest, and move your legs. Stay in a reasonable gear- pushing too hard will only exhaust you. You can’t go the distance that way. Set your sites on the hills that always will come. Life has loads of them. Enjoy them. Don’t race through them.

Taking hills this way, it’s easy. It just takes a while, that’s all. Sound bizarre, get on a bike and try- any bike with gears. It’s simply a matter of perspective.

Enjoy the hills. Relax your arms, steady yourself. That hill ain’t going nowhere. Get to the top, savor it- you’ve still got the energy to do 10 more.

Then descend. Look around. There’s life happening.

Today, I don’t feel like I just rode further than I have in 8 years. I feel like I did a mild workout. My lunch break is in half an hour, and I’m gonna go do another hour of riding- because I can- and it won’t hurt me. In fact, I think that it just might help me.

Enjoy the ride… It’s too beautiful not to. You’ll find you can fly longer and higher than you ever thought.

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3 thoughts on “Get Bent -or- Relax and Enjoy the Ride

  1. Joseph

    This was good, question, what kind of bike do you recommend for travel? Not necessarily exercise or anything, but getting from home to school or something

    Reply
  2. John Cullimore Post author

    I’d recommend something that you’ll be happy riding repeatedly. If you’re not comfortable, right off, you won’t ride it a lot. It’ll annoy you and get rusted.

    There’s a lot of neat options out there now.

    Are you still in the Orlando area? If so, I’d recommend a semi-recumbent. You can log some serious miles on those around there with little resistance.

    Reply
  3. Joseph

    So I thought whenever you responded I would get updates through email, and I never got them so I thought you weren’t responding. Then I re-read a post and noticed that you had responded. Weird.

    I’m actually in the Jacksonville area right now. But I will look for a semi-recumbent. Thank you sir 🙂

    Reply

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