Smell the Roses
42“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Author-Sherlock Holmes & Cyclist
A personal rule is never evaluating performance in a fatigued state. The days after hard racing are better left to physical recovery, spiritual renewal, practical fortification but not emotional attachment. For example, after a hard weekend of racing that leaves you spent, don’t use Monday to figure out how to change everything and plan a new campaign. Detach until energies return and thought processes reward with greater clarity.
The longer the event, such as a tour, the more such days are necessary for recuperation. Lightly active easy days are better for recovery than days completely off, although inactive days away from cycling entirely have a place also. Active recovery days can be spent in a variety of activities, including strolling and yoga, but most serious cyclists stay on the bike. This is the time for that ride that feels like a tourist pedaling along at lowest intensity, coasting encouraged. Various names describe its soothing pleasurable nature, such as sightseeing- exploring new places or coffee ride- meeting a friend at a favorite java haunt or smell the roses ride- enjoying nature.
One quintessential such ride occurred in a botanical park where I cruised serenely among garden sidewalks and literally stopped to smell various varieties of rose. Glorious restorations of the soul occur on such rides. Evoke childhood memories of the fun the bike originally gave you, such as recalling Evel Knievel-type antics on a bike with sissy-bars, streamers and a banana seat.
The bicycle is a mechanical gift to mankind, a toy for play despite its seriousness at times. Have a fun-ride. No analysis, see the world afresh!
Prayer for Active Recovery
“Has anyone planted a vineyard and not begun to enjoy it?
Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else enjoy it.” 43Deuteronomy 20:6
We are thankful for life’s pauses. We confess sometimes our reaction to working hard is working harder. We pray for sweet times of ride refreshment.
Ponder What is my first or best childhood bike memory? Affirm I am a kid again on this bike toy today. Watch and see everything since you’re going slow enough to take it all in as if for the first time.
42 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle quoted in Scientific American, January 18, 1896
43The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson