As an athlete, we often push our bodies to the max. A steady amount of pain is welcomed - in the legs, lungs and sometimes heart. For me, each and every ride serves a purpose and goal - to get stronger and faster. And even though sometimes I fail, at least I know I gave something everything I had before that failure.
Cycling is an endurance sport in more ways than one. Physically there are long grueling hours put in on the saddle, reliant on pieces of man made machinery and reliant on the ultimate engine, but sometimes just as faulty, the body. Countless hours are spent training and fueling, taking time for recovery and creating a life balance so that each time I pull on my spandex, each time I clip into my pedals - I know why I'm doing it. It's a long road toward my ultimate goal - world cup competition in track - but I choose to do this. I am fortunate that the planets have aligned and I can spend the majority of my waking hours cycling. And for that I am forever thankful.
Mentally cycling is an endurance game as well. Day in day out, hours devoted to 90+ revolutions per minute - without the proper mental capacity you could easily fail on lack of motivation alone. It is often too easy to make excuses: it's raining outside, my legs hurt, my saddle gives me discomfort, I don't feel like it. But some how those things are quickly forgotten. A rest day comes and though I'm thankful for the time off the bike, I can't wait to get back to it to express 100% of my ability. I still feel the excitement as I did the first year I started racing. The giddiness of feeling the endorphin rush, the wind in my hair, the hum of my rear hub.
Even when the going gets tough - and today it did - I still find myself in love with this sport. It pushes me to the limit on hills and when I hit that limit I'm reminded of being a mere mortal. A mortal who is gravity challenged. I smile to myself because my pursuit isn't after hills, though mastery of everything I do is deep seeded within me. I smile because I know come track season I'm going to be able to push harder and faster than last year. I look at the top of the hill with one focus in mind - the finish line or pull in team pursuit, or lapping attempt in a points race.
Sometimes it's important to restate why you do what you do. What gets you stoked? Why do you do what you do?