Today our Christian friends celebrate Easter; the day on which their savior rose from the dead after having died by crucifixion for the sins of the world.
If you have heard or read about the events of Good Friday and his death, you surely would agree that there was an inarguable amount of suffering experienced by this man.
As we have arrived at yet another Sunday on which the trails are wet, muddy, and unrideable, I ask that you consider whether you are actually suffering, or if the Universe is simply trying to teach you a lesson or two.
Perhaps you will get on the gravel like me and feel the pain in your hips, legs, and back and wonder why you could not have chosen a hobby/sport like golf instead of this love for dirt on which you are sometimes forced to ride wet gravel. Your mind may curse the weather and dream of a day on which you can ride and be afforded the ability to coast every now and then.
Perhaps you will get on the trainer and feel the weight of the world and a thousand pressures as your mind goes numb from tremendous boredom.
Maybe you will get on the road and feel stress the entire ride as you attempt to stay as far right as possible and yet incredibly visible so that some angry driver who doesn’t think you should be on the road, especially when it is wet, won’t buzz you with his weapon of intentional destruction.
I ask you to not allow your mind to wonder.
To focus on your relative suffering today and reflect upon all that you are learning and all the benefits that will be the fruit of this suffering.
The mental tenacity it takes to spin on the trainer on and on will come in useful in the future, as will the physical power and speed that you have developed. Remind yourself of the reward as you feel yourself wanting to quit. Ask yourself the reasons behind wanting to quit. This one is really not about the bike at all.
The core strength, handling, and mental toughness from riding on wet roads will one day comfort you and reward you with a confidence you did not know you had in you. Perhaps it already has. Reflect upon the time before you had the confidence to venture out on the wet roads. Think about the angry motorists and the possible source of their aggression and try to forgive them and extend some compassion and kindness in return. It may cause them think or even reconsider the cyclist. Even if you don’t personally witness the reward, another cyclist may. Feel good about this and pick up your cadence.
The wet gravel will make you stronger physically, mentally, and skill-wise. It will be difficult the entire time, with no coasting to ease the pain and no technical challenges to stimulate your mind. The weight of the wet gravel and dirt will try to pull you backwards, but you will succeed. Your legs will burn and you will focus on the outcome. Allow the burning you feel to remind you of all the things you have suffered through in your life. Maybe a relative or a friend is suffering and would give anything to trade their brand of suffering for a ride on the wet gravel. Use the gravel to put things in perspective.
When you complete your respective rides today, carry your good feelings forward and carry yourself with the calm confidence of a person who knows things can always be worse and that there are often great rewards when the suffering ends.
“Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?” -John Keats