By Master Physical Therapist, Ron Berry
Why do people take hours out of their busy lives to make themselves tired, to make themselves somewhat uncomfortable, to feel a little fear, of their own choice? Then, why do people do this repeatedly?
People ask me why I love cycling as a hobby; I often ask myself that.
Yes, there are moments of cruising along, breathing in the fresh air at that perfect pace, where one can appreciate the beautiful things we roll by: the wonders of mother nature, the spectacles along the road, other cyclists being friendly – moments that are easy to love.
But, there are moments, such as, when we are pushing against the wind, against gravity when going up a hill, trying to find a lane along traffic that feels safe, moments that are not so easy to love. But, the time we put in to a hobby like cycling leads to becoming better at that hobby.
The strength we can develop with smart training makes it so that the wind can blow as hard as it wants, but we can still find ourselves moving forward through it. Refining our skills and metabolic capabilities can make a hill, whatever grade of steep, conquerable. By following the rules of the road and developing a sixth sense of what traffic will do, we can navigate over the asphalt and concrete safely. Yes, there are elements of cycling on the roads that are challenging, but, getting over those challenges can be so invigorating and life affirming that it gets easy to pump up those tires and get out and pedal.
After a period of time of not being on my road bike I came upon this goal of doing the Gibraltar Challenge as part of the Santa Barbara 100. 4 months out from the event I created a plan with my colleagues and clients at PHASE IV to improve my cycling. And, it worked.
As I rounded into good cycling shape the feeling that motivates me to get back into it returned. Teaching my whole body to create power: from the leg muscles applying 360 degrees of force on the pedals, to the heart and legs operating comfortably in the upper zones. It all connects to a feeling in the very middle of my body, deep inside that I have become strong, machine like, but a machine with a heart that not only feels strong, but feels joy and pride as well.
I especially enjoy getting this feeling when I climb a long steady hill. My training has afforded me the confidence to relax and get into my zone, lock in to my technique, access my strength and pump my body, feel it breath, alive. Just before the top of the hill is the best. That's when my heart gets to go harder for just a little bit more, when my mind can get a little more focused, when I know just a little more pumping of the legs will get me there. Then, I can feel the recovery, the air to cool me, my heart recovering, and slowing down, the accomplishment gives me satisfaction.
Finally, feeling fit in the early morning workouts, erases the memory of earlier training cycle stiffness and any of the negatives. Different sports have varying versions of this realization of fitness, this blissful moment. This is what makes the efforts to achieve it all, worthwhile.
For those of you who haven't felt “it,” that feeling you love in awhile, I would strongly encourage you to take the first steps to get back there. If you find the hill to climb too daunting to start, the staff at PHASE IV can give you some guidance to make it less of a struggle, and more of a process to enjoy. If you want to share the process of finding that feeling again, we're here for you. Whether your sport is cycling, or whatever else, the process of progressing and growing strong will greatly benefit from a strategic goal oriented plan, and some guidance on how to get there.
The Santa Barbara 100 Gibraltar Challenge was last week. I used the event on my calendar to keep me on schedule and ride 3x/week with a purpose. And, along the way I’ve improved and given myself moments of feeling strong again. Its been fun and it’s been great for my health. I hope many of my fellow participants in the event had a similar experience in preparing for it. And, I hope that any readers who aren't sure if they should sign up for an event like this in the future, get up and make the move to do it.
Remember that feeling you love, and get it back!
For more information about training for an event in a sport you enjoy, give us a call. 310-582-8212