Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Why Behind What I Do

One Wednesday morning, I was riding an endurance bout after one of my classes and one of my favorite songs came on ("All the Same" by Sick Puppies). It's about hurt and forgiveness and purposefully living the moments you have with someone you love. As the song started, a smile spread across my face and I reached over to the sound board and turned it up. The music led me to ride in the saddle with a heavy gear and powerful leg speed. The lyrics are pretty intense and as the song builds, you can hear the passion and pain in the singer's voice as he belts out each word. As my heart was pounding and breath was becoming less and less existent while I tried to sing the words it hit me......man....I love this.

I. Love. This. 

Cycle, in its most natural form is incredibly moving. It allows you to dig into a part of you that rarely gets tapped. There's no coordination needed, just raw and driving power. It took me a while to figure that out because, like most people, I looked at exercise as "work" rather than appreciating that we still have the ability to move.

I really started to spin a lot when my mother was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme, an aggressive form of brain cancer. I could drop into a class undetected and sit for an hour without talking to anyone. I could close my eyes and coast by all the while, building my grocery list, figuring out my schedule so I could be there for Mom's chemo or take her the caramel macchiato that she loved so much. It was an hour I could feel whatever it was I was feeling without judgement or explanation. But then something happened....I allowed it to get physical. 

I allowed it.

I stopped thinking about brain scans and cancer and I started to turn it up. I began to play a little with my boundaries and then push beyond them. I learned to quiet the sadness in my mind and heart by feeling the work in my legs and lungs. I loved the sweat and the bike but I really loved the music. I loved being able to feel the song and give it a physical form with my ride. On the spin bike, with little distraction, I was able to take the feeling poured into the words and turn that feeling into strength for my body. It became about me for that one hour. The world outside went away, cancer went away and it was just me. 

I learned to never look at any ride as defeat or a waste of time because in each ride I would find a little more of who I was. I think it helped me learn to look at stress, pain and negativity as a building block of strength rather than a tool of destruction.

It's not about the bike. It's not about how many watts you can push or how fast your legs move. It's about giving everything you could give to that day's ride...heart, mind and body. It's about never settling and not letting the yuck dominate you. Ever. That is why I love cycle and why I love teaching others to love it, to connect to it, to own it.

You live like you ride. 

Mind. Blown.

Ride on.