Group Talk — 31 May 2011
Cycling: Are You Tough Enough?

Don’t let the colorful shirts fool you. Cycling is far from a sissy sport. Consider a normal cyclist pedals 78 times per minute, averaging two hours each ride. Tally it up. That’s 9,360 pedals a ride. Sound like an easy task?

To clarify, biking is the act of propelling the weight of ones body with each pedal; up hills, around corners, evading traffic, and out-speeding dogs. You fluctuate through bouts of exhaustion as you grind up each hill. Then sigh in relief as you descend at speeds near 35 miles per hour.

Cycling is a sport of strong hearts, adrenaline rushes, and determination

The challenge is in overcoming the road, weather, and even yourself. It is taking a well-oiled machine, your body, and pushing it to its limit. The heart galvanizes to feed oxygen through your circulatory system to your extremities. The senses heighten. And your mind and body are harmonized into one focus – your destination.

Push yourself without preparation and your body tanks out. You’ll find yourself stopping to nurse a curb minutes later. But plan your day, with steady hydration and complex carbohydrates beforehand, and exhilaration awaits you at the end of your journey.

The road isn’t always friendly

Spinning classes are great but can’t compare to the trials of actual pavement pounding. Continuous adjustments must be made for gravel, grass, concrete, and dirt roads, each terrain requiring its own level of intensity. These myriad of conditions can’t be simulated in a gym.

The weather can be your friend or worst enemy

Cycle on a dry, sunny day and little risk looms except the threat of possible dehydration. Ride on a humid day and the humidity makes the air less dense – robbing you of oxygen. Breathing becomes twice as hard. Pacing yourself correctly becomes critical.

Still, mile after mile you torque closer to your goal. Your body yearns to quit but you push on. The strain is worth the effort. Relieved, you finally arrive at your mark with a sense of achievement.

You rest a bit but it’s not over yet. Now starts the journey back. No sweat off your back though. Nothing rejuvenates the spirit like fresh air and a good workout. Besides, you soon come to realize what you’ve known all along. That you can overcome most anything in life that challenges your path.

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