Break the Cycle…Embrace the Grit

Focus…one’s eyes fixed to the path ahead. Speed. Acceleration. Wind whipping through your hair.

Well.. not exactly through your hair, since it lives under your helmet. But you get the idea.

Riding a bike.  That thought alone has a plethora of catch-phrases and famous analogies. “Life is like riding a bike. (Insert phrase of choice here)

Cycling, however,…elevates “riding a bike” to an entirely new level of stature.

I am trying like crazy to embrace “the bike.”  It has become my weakest area now out of the #swimbikerun.

I hope someday the feeling is more like:

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And not-so-much like:

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No matter which way you dice it, the bike is the most important part of the race. It has the most miles dedicated to it in any length triathlon.  My thinking was it must be the “easiest.”  My thoughts were also confirmed by pretty much anyone I had talked to about duathlons  or triathlons.  “The biking is the easy part!  The swim is the worst!”

I love swimming (now)…after months and months of blood, sweat and tears. The cycling…well, it’s still a tough portion of the race for me.

Swimming has become my source of rhythm and peace.  Running is my freedom.  Biking, for me, requires mental toughness and a tremendous amount of grit.  It is the crux of the battle..it’s where the actual fight happens.  Fast, strong, powerful legs required.  An understanding of gears, settings, when and where to shift and accelerate or coast…there are so many factors at play here.

The bike is the tool your body uses as a machine. I am 9 days away from my first triathlon.  9 days. My mind knows I have not given the bike enough practice, and my heart knows I have not given the bike enough love.

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I LOVE my bike…now I need to embrace the grit that comes with racing.  My last ride was a glorious 15 miles along the Erie Canal.  My speed improved from an average of 11 mph to 15 mph now. I actually enjoyed the ride…no hills, however, on the canal.  Still…I was smiling through the grit…listening the sound of my tires splitting through the gravel path.  It was exhilarating!

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My “hills” days are tough and defeating at times.  There will be hills on the bike course of my triathlon.  Panic is inevitably beginning to set into my soul.  As of now, the weather seems to be holding steady in the projected forecast, but we all know how that goes!  I ran my very first half marathon in a torrential downpour.  I pray this race brings much better weather.
Like I said, I LOVE my bike.  Felt bikes are amazing!   When I purchased my bike, I was both nervous and full of anticipation, like a child waiting to ride her very first roller coaster.

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In all seriousness…biking is tough!  Along with the grit your body physically encounters on the bike, your soul, on the other handneeds to encompass a certain level of calm and balance.  Intensity with composure.  Power with a stable center.  That is how I feel anyway.

Grit + Inner Balance + Pedaling your a$$ off = Victory??

Haha, maybe.  That will certainly be my equation come race day! “The middle is messy, but that is also where the magic happens,” says Brené Brown.  I’ll be praying to the Magic Gods then when this girl hits T1 next weekend!

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Happiness is riding a bike…and the hills are just real-life rollercoasters. #repeatuntilconvinced

Cycling like my life depends on it,

J

 

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