Is anyone sick of my biking stories lately? Thanks to all the free time I have had the past two months, biking has become a daily activity for me. I am in for a rude awakening when I leave Germany and no longer have access to the biking paths here. I am trying my damnedest not to think about the future lack of trails, and enjoy the current moments.
Last month I went for two notable bike rides, both of which pushed my limits a bit. I tend to get stuck in habitual patterns of what is comfortable, but I wanted to challenge myself so I chose two routes I had done last fall (when I was in better shape) to ride again. One of the routes I never actually biked the entire way, I instead found a hiking trail and walked my bike up the giant hill (twice.)
I was too intimidated by the giant hill.
We’ll start with the story of the easier ride. I typically bike the same path everyday to my favorite area, but I knew I wanted to go somewhere different. I wanted a slight challenge of a hill to bring out my inner “Little Engine that Could.” I decided to bike to Geroldsee, a beautiful lake with amazing mountain views.
Looking at those photos I wonder how this place is even real. I parked my bike at the hut in the last photo, and climbed partway up a hill to get a better view of the mountains behind the lake. The hill to Geroldsee is a decent elevation grade, but it’s never as bad as I anticipate it will be. I don’t rush, I take it low and slow, and this keeps me at a comfortable heart rate.
Something has clicked in my mindset the past couple months, and I have more confidence in who I am and what my abilities are. I no longer feel anxious going at my own pace.
I sat at the lake for quite some time, a little more than 30 minutes, and I let myself get lost in the views. A few people passed me as I sat on a nearby bench, and we exchanged greetings as they continued on the path. I prefer biking alone, but when I see other people out and about it gives me the comfort of being with others.
A woman on a horse also rode by – a surprising, but not unexpected view.
My ride home took me soaring down the hill I climbed, but not before passing by some furry friends. I felt strong, as I often do after I complete something I thought would be hard. I am learning to let go of the perfectionism, which I really tested on my next bike ride – the one with the big hill.
My second notable ride was to a monastery I’ve visited twice. As I mentioned before, each time I had biked here in the past I avoided the long, winding, mountain road and found a back route meant more for hiking instead. The hiking trail is shorter, as it’s more of a direct route, but that also means it’s significantly steeper.
It’s near impossible to bike up the hiking route (for me) so I would always walk my bike up this section. It takes me around 50 minutes depending on my energy, but something in me this day told me to try and bike up the mountain road. I put my perfectionism away (my mind would say something like: “this is a big hill and if you can’t complete all of it you’ll have wasted your effort”), and I told myself if I only make it partway, it is still an accomplishment.
Not only did I make it the entire way, but the time it took to bike up was comparable with the time it took when I walked my bike up the hiking path (and seemed easier.) The road is long, and there were moments I thought I was close when I wasn’t, but it was far easier than I expected. The cars zooming past me were scarier than the hill itself.
Another low and slow climb. Three men passed me, and one woman, but I didn’t care.
I didn’t feel less than because they were faster than me, I felt strong because I was one of them – a biker biking up a big ass hill and not stopping. The pace doesn’t matter, the effort is what matters. The ride up raised my body temperature, and the cool interior of the monastery was a welcomed reprieve. I sat alone in stillness admiring the ornate interior, thanking God for allowing my body to do what it did.
I know I say it often, but it’s my life and something that is always buzzing in the background, but when I get into a balanced groove with my health I appreciate things more than I ever did before. Without the darkness, we can never truly appreciate the light. I truly believe this break from a stressful job has worked wonders for me.
I spent some time foraging for dandelion greens in the surrounding mountains, and couldn’t slap the smile off my face.
The ride down was likely scarier than the ride up because I don’t like going down hills fast. My max speed was 43MPH, and speeding makes me feel as if I’ve lost control. I don’t ride my breaks, but I certainly pump them often. Going down is similar to going up, I go at my own pace.
It might sound silly, but these physical accomplishments have been monumental for me. I attribute my body feeling well to being in a balance due to having limited stress in my life at the moment. I have my days, but sleeping, eating well, and moving my body intuitively is giving me confidence in other areas of my life, not just with my physical activities. I just need to keep the momentum going when inevitable stress comes back into my life.
These two bike rides inspired me to complete my longest ride to date, which I continued to put off because I doubted myself. More on that in my next post! 🙂
Q: Do you overanalyze like I do, or do you have an easy time going with the flow?