People find their own stress, by which I mean, what one person finds stressful, given their specific context, another person might call a luxury. It is very difficult to escape your own context. And so, when I say I’ve been living through a stressful moment, I just want to own that I don’t have the kinds of challenges that threaten my health, my family, or my future. I’m just navigating a lot of high pressure situations, all at once.
I knew this was coming, a home renovation, a healthy dose of over-commitment to coaching youth sports, intense work days, and an ambitious training schedule have left me tired and stressed out. To be sure, the lessons are all good, to suffer is to learn as Padraig is fond of saying, and because I knew it was coming, I have been able to deal more effectively than I might otherwise.
The enduring metaphor to cycling (and all endurance sports really) is that crisis is coming. Things are going to get hard. You are going to be stretched and tested in ways you didn’t expect, and your success depends a lot on how you navigate. Are you flexible? Are you resourceful? Are you patient? Can you stay clear in your thinking?
On the bike, I can recall so many long rides when I felt strong at mile 50, fell apart completely at 60, regained myself by 70, and finished shattered some time later. I have felt the depths of despair, just turning the pedals over through a pain fog. I have cursed my best friends as I lost their wheels. To work the RKPisms some more: There will be chaos. Keep pedaling.
This week’s Group Ride asks, how do you deal with crises on the bike? Scale of 1-10, where 1 is ‘total basket case,’ and 10 is ‘imperturbable.’ I’d give myself a 5.5, which is an improvement of where I was ten years ago, largely due to the practice of overextending myself mentally and physically, and having to put it all back together, i.e. living.