Have you ever pedaled up a steep hill…….? Unless you are some sort of freak, this is a challenging task. Climbing hills can be torturous and draining. We often dread “the climb” on our routes. If you are riding in a new area locals will warn you about the climbs rather than the flats. It sometimes feels that hills are a nuisance, an unavoidable one. Hills and climbs come with the territory of cycling. There are no if’s, and’s, or but’s about that. If you ride you will climb.
We can’t ride as fast climbing hills as we can on flats and it’s more work. It seems like we put in a lot more effort on a hill and don’t get much in return. It can take 10 minutes to pedal a mile up a steep hill and 3 to descend a mile. Who would choose the 10? Sometimes when we ride uphill it’s like we aren’t even moving. We might as well be in a spin class.
As we pedal up a hill our mental and physical beings are clashing. Mentally, we want to quit because of the struggle. Our minds go back to the idea that we aren’t getting much out of the effort we are putting in. In contrast, our physical bodies are being pushed and are growing stronger. As we pedal up hill we build muscle, stamina, and strength. Once we can sync our minds and bodies, we begin to understand the real benefits of persevering through the hills.
Just as there are hills in cycling, there are hills in our lives. They can’t be avoided. We experience the loss of loved ones, we experience illness and death, we experience job loss, we experience break ups, and we experience a plethora of other struggles throughout life. These times are trying. They can be hard as hell. These times can feel endless. It’s during these times that we feel like we are digressing rather than progressing. Despite our efforts, we can’t gain momentum.
Similar to the bike, our minds are not in sync with what is actually occurring. Let’s use the following example. Lets say you lost your job unexpectedly. You now have no income, which means you can’t pay the bills. This is certainly devastating as you could end up on the street. After the initial shock you begin to utilize some savings and tap into some friends and family for help. This may be a bit humbling and extremely difficult to swallow your pride. You will probably be thinking, “I can’t believe I need help, this is humiliating”. Now lets say you begin to build your resume and apply for jobs. This is certainly not an easy task, as you have to sell yourself and prove you are better than 100’s of other applicants. During this time you may be thinking, “shoot, this is like working for free, I am never going to get a job”. Finally, let’s say you get hired somewhere and you are far too overqualified. Again this can be difficult, as you have to swallow your pride. You may think, “This is ridiculous a third grader could do this”. Now after all that let’s pretend you eventually move up and land a better job than the one you originally lost. You would probably be thinking, “yessss finally, I have been waiting for this forever”.
If we look closely at the above scenario you can see almost every thought was negative until a better job was found. Each process was difficult and sacrifices were made. This person had to continuously swallow their pride and persevere to the next stage. In those moments, it probably felt as if the wheels were spinning in the mud. However, once the overall goal was achieved that person could look back and see the progress they made. They went from being unemployed to having their dream job. That is an incredible progression, but one that was only recognized after the goal was achieved. In this example you can see the parallels of biking up a hill.
As people striving to be more positive and productive we must learn to recognize when we are climbing a hill. During those times, despite what our minds might be saying, we need to decipher the true progress being made. This will aid in making “the climb” more bearable.
Remember, every hill has a top and you will eventually get there!
HEALTHY BIKE HEALTHY BRAIN!