After a winter full of cycling and no signs of an off-season followed by cycling and hiking adventures, a much needed break simply had to be taken. Back home again, I watched as the short summer seemed to be slipping through my fingers. I had not been on my bike in what seemed like forever. I started to long for a ride.
Finally, the day came. Mind and body were both ready, and the sun was shining. I didn’t put on bib shorts or the typical riding jersey. Today was a day for sugar shorts and a fun tank top jersey. It took me back to the days when I didn’t have any ‘real’ gear.
As I rolled out onto the patio and closed the door behind me, I did the unspeakable. I began my ride without a Garmin! Yes, I rode my bike without any sort of computer or device that could tell me how far I had gone, how many metres I had climbed, how fast I was going, or what my cadence was. Today was a day to simply ride. I wanted to reconnect with my bike and with nature.
I know some people in the cycling world couldn’t fathom riding without access to the numbers. Some of my cycling friends would gasp at the thought. For me, there are times when I simply want to ride.
All three times that I climbed Alpe d’Huez I did not have a bike computer with me. When I peaked Col d’Abisque, Tourmalet, Gavia, Stevlio, and even the infamous Mortirolo, non of these times did I have any data at my fingertips. I didn’t even own a Garmin at this point in my life. And guess what? I climbed all of these, and many more.
On all of the great mountains that I have climbed, I simply climbed. I found a flow with my physical, mental and spiritual beings. I made it to the top one pedal stroke at a time.
I found a deep connection with myself and with the nature surrounding me.
I am so fortunate to have beautiful riding grounds in my back yard. I love the long, open roads surrounded by fields and lush trees. My mind can be clear, and I can be free to coast along without worry.
On this ride, I took my time. Longing to reconnect with my bike and my surroundings, I didn’t want to whiz by everything. I wanted to stop, to look around, and to truly see everything. In this state, hidden gems can be found. I am not sure if I had ever noticed the intricate art work on a run down barn, or the suspicious look in these horses eyes as they examined me.
How blue, how serene is a lake when you stop to take it in. Without the pressure of a plan driven by numbers, I felt free to drink in the moment. I felt like I could just be. Such a lovely ride took me back to my first days of riding European mountains, and I was reminded of the tranquility and peace that I found.
So, in that spirit, today I rode my bike. It isn’t posted on Strava (a website where cyclists connect, compare and compete). But guess what? It did happen!