Sunday, September 22, 2013

Life lessons from Cycling

My husband and I are avid cyclists, endurance, long hours in the saddle and the training time to be able to do so.  You could say it’s part of the glue that nurtured our early relationship.  Shortly before we got married, we bought a tandem bicycle.  Not the kind you leisure on at the beach, but the lightweight aluminum tubes, high performance disk brakes, and itty bitty saddles kind of bike.  We rode this bike fairly often, and as two strong cyclists, we realized we could average high speed on long distances, faster than each of us could average individually (definitely me).

In cycling, or endurance anything, comes an awareness of the physical body and the psychological phases that go with strength and fatigue.  On a tandem bicycle, where both are a contributing engine, the common goal is pungent,  sharing the passion for the undertaking, and the absolute of “doing your best”.  Doing your best sometimes means fresh legs, optimism, friendliness.  More notably though is when doing your best means sitting in, gasping for air, peddling lighter than you or your partner would prefer, and accepting that it is a necessary means to continue on this path together.  To allow, even in your own exhaustion, that your partner needs this time to recover, as a normal ebb and flow of being human.

We had a joke, a joke that spawned from frustration and strain, that is perhaps one that only a couple can humor together: “You’re not peddling hard enough”.  Affectionately, as awareness of each other’s need to sit in and refresh throughout the ride.  With life and two kids, we rarely get the tandem out any more.  But some days, when looking at a sink of dirty dishes, or another chore-in-need, I still hear in my mind an affectionate “You’re not peddling hard enough”, and I move forward knowing that we’re both Doing our Best, every day.

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