By Adrienne Boland
“If you find a pathway with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.”
-Frank A. Clark
Everyone has something that makes them relax and that rejuvenates their soul. Some find this peace with yoga and some find peace with meditation, but I find that riding my bicycle is just as relaxing. I love to ride my bike, I do! When I am not on it, I want to be on it. When I get done with a ride I can’t wait for the next. I would say I have a better relationship with my bike than I have ever had with a man, oddly enough. The wind in your hair, the sweat on your face, and the feeling of your muscles firing and pushing you to the top of the hill. I breathe hard, I try to catch my breath after a long climb, it hurts, but it provides more accomplishment and self esteem than any handstand ever has on my mat. The sound of a fine tuned bicycle as it spins its way up a hill, the sound of climbing gear clinking together; it is the resonance of life. This feeling is meditative. A controlled spin of the legs, a steady breath. Breath, what yoga is all about. You lose yourself in your ride, all the thoughts you had before are suddenly gone, and all that matters is you and the moment, the moment of pure freedom.
This all changes when you have been on the saddle for over 100 miles and you are in race mode. You still feel the joy of the ride, the smoothness of the spin and your mind is still calm but your back starts to hurt, you are feeling your muscles fatigue. Maybe I should have stuck to my mat? No! That is the fatigue talking. You love to ride, and although I torture myself with a long distance race from Moab to St. George Utah with some awesome ladies, it is still amazing to be out there, and the views are unexplainable. The joy of this race is the mental and physical endurance that you have to have to ride 525 miles as a relay team through the heat of the desert. Talk about mind over matter, well and lots of water, and the best support vehicle driver ever! Before I spoke of support of your friends to get you to your mat, well without the support of my ladies and fearless driver, Tony, I never would have made it to the finish.
About mile 100 I start to feel my back start to spasm, ugh, I still have 20 more miles before I reach the next checkpoint, it is 3 am and I am feeling the miles, both in my butt and in my head. I push on, remembering my inner yogi. I focus on my breathing, I have been climbing for over 20 miles now and I need to push a little harder to reach the top. I pass some cows to my left, slowly waking to the morning light. This reminds me, ah! Cat/Cow! Yes, that will help! I start arching my back, immediately I go into a place where the pain is gone. I do some flat back exercises to help alleviate some tenderness. Wow, now I am ready to spin those legs all the way to the next town. I can see the houses getting larger, any minute now. Don’t give up, go faster, finish strong! I roll into the town going mach 100, screech to a stop and hand off the bracelet to my partner. Wow, I am beat, but that little bit of yoga really helped my mind and body in time of stress. Yet another reason to get my ass on the mat!
I can only imagine what my dad is feeling after biking over 2700 miles on the Continental Divide Bike Race. He is finishing any minute now and crossing over into Mexico after starting in Canada on June 13th. The amount of mind power and physical strength he has endured over the last month is unfathomable. I am a proud daughter, I have to brag for a minute! However this type of task may be present in all of our minds, hearts and lives. We all have goals that we want to achieve, places we want to see, and people we need to share our lives with. Sometimes that is harder than we want it to be. It sucks at the time, man does it suck, but eventually all of that dedication to our goal, or our dream pays off. Never give up, live in the moment and drive yourself to do the things you want, the things that scare you! Break things down into smaller accomplishments and keep going. We will have hurdles, obstacles and people telling us we cannot do it. But we can!
So next time you are doing something challenging, think of yoga and how any aspect of it may help you overcome. That may be in yoga class (downward dog kills me every time), but I persevere and don’t give up! Breathe, relax and move forward. If life has taught me anything, it is to do what makes you happy, challenge yourself and never say never. There is so much to see and do in the world. Don’t let trivial things stand in your way. Keep spinning, you will get there… just a few more cows, and a few more miles, but the payoff at the finish is amazing, and the view isn’t so bad either.
“You are only one bike ride away from a good mood.”