Celebrating the first bike ride of the season

The grand total of distance was about 8.7 miles. The elevation profile wasn’t really worth nothing and things like time and miles per hour are still unknown to me. Actually, the only reason I know that we went 8.7 miles is because Mark announced it with a laugh.

It was the first outdoor bike ride of the season. Pace and distance and difficulty didn’t matter. We were out on our bikes. That was all that mattered.

Time for a true confession interlude: Upon reading the email from Mark, inviting me along on his short, easy post-work ride, my immediate reaction was torn.I know. It surprised me, too. I love spending time with Mark. I love being outside. I love being on my bike. Really, all the package was missing was a pile of pancakes or an ice cream sundae and you would have my definition of nirvana.

But some questions popping into my head: Was it just a tad too cold? Are my legs weren’t too trashed from that morning’s speed workout? Is my bike in proper mechanical shape to avoid things like problematic gears and flat tires?

That well-trained part of my mind which constantly scans the horizon for danger — whether it be real or imagined, physical or emotional — was doing it’s thing. And a funny thing happened. I found the negative thoughts not just untrue but boring. What a great sign that my off-season mental training has been going well. The practice of noticing my thoughts and verbalizing my internal dialogue made me much more aware of the stories I was telling myself. And once I gained that awareness, the ability to change my thoughts, to live with intention, became that much easier, and a bit more effortless.

It didn’t take much to eschew the negative questions. I put my old wheels on my bike and with three layers of clothes, two pairs of socks, full bike gloves and a hat under my helmet, it was go-time.

The first few pedal strokes felt great. Then came our first hill. It wasn’t much of a hill, but it was hill enough for March. And while my bike is in need of a tender-loving tune-up, she shifted just fine. Pushing a big gear on the flats and slight downhills felt fantastic. It was chilly and breezy but we smiled nonetheless. We took a pit stop at Gear for Adventure to chat and pick up some Honey Stinger waffles (seriously, those things are great before a workout and incredibly addicting). We returned via a different route.

Yes, it was just a lazy ride on a cool and cloudy day. It wasn’t part of my training.

But that’s what made it so great. Because sometimes just doing is the purpose.

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