Ride, Pause, Think, Repeat

“Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going to fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why”
– Eddie Cantor
 

Hurry, Hurry, oh, no, wait, why?

One thing I have always struggled with in all aspects with my life is the ability to slow down and enjoy the moment. For example, this morning at breakfast, there was no need to rush, I had absolutely no where to be, however I found myself agitated, wanting to hurry my boyfriend along to the next thing… which was actually nothing in particular, as we were on holiday. I think most of us in western society get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, and really never stop to enjoy moments. My life style actually encourages one to be relaxed, and more easy going, however for some reason, this has always eluded me, and now I am on a mission to “slow down”.

For me this has to start with riding, as I’m no longer a racer, it is a time to slow down and really stop to smell the roses…or poppies rather as it is poppy season in Europe.  I am trying to learn to just enjoy riding my bike, without a goal or expectation on myself. Let me tell you, it is really hard to just ride, seems silly, but it is true. for so long I have been conditioned to ride hard to gain fitness and loose weight. I find it really difficult to roll along without pressure or some sort sense of pain or tiring sensation in my body. I actually relished the feeling of being so buckled I would have to lie on my rug fully kitted with a protein shake in hand. Only scraping myself up 30 minutes later to have a shower and finish making my lunch. I know longer get home and collapse from exhaustion. Usually it’s straight in the shower and on to the next part of the day.

The Sound Of Silence

The one expectation I now expect of myself is to walk away from a ride and decide how much I enjoyed the ride. I ride alone now without company, and am actually learning to embrace my thoughts…I am even learning to ride with no podcast or music, just enjoying the moment alone. Riding with people will still be my favourite thing about the sport of cycling, that will never change, however, solo time is key for everyone I think. Rolling along the Spanish country or Belgium farmlands with no goal or destination in particular has been some what therapeutic for me these past months. I need my bike now more than ever as I transition from professional athlete into…I don’t know what.

I have purposely filled my calendar for the year so there isn’t much time to pause and think about retirement. I know in my heart it was the right choice, as I now no longer having this over powering anxiety around getting up to train in the morning, or going to a race. I feel a sense of freedom, which excites and terrifies me. A life with no structure is something that I am not totally comfortable with, so I’ve set about being a “yes women” putting my hand up to every opportunity that comes my way. I’m currently in Spain, on the Costa Brava, as a guide for “Strong Her”, a womens cycling initiative to encourage women to share their love of the bike with other women. Being around these women has been both inspiring and motivating for me to pursue my dreams in this next chapter of my life. I’ve realised that the passion for riding my bike is still there, it’s just developing and evolving into something different.

Next stop is California for the Women’s Tour of California. So stay tuned as I keep you posted on my USA adventures.

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