Triathlon Training Has Begun!

Another triathlon season is underway, and as usual, my training is in full-swing.  What was that?  You didn’t know I was a Triathlete?  Oh gosh, yeah…

My rigorous training program begins with the first leg of the race.  My right leg to be exact.  Getting my biking spandex on is an all-out workout that may or may not involve a sweat mustache by the time those suckers are on.  This is the “water” portion of the triathlon training.  As in, “I’m sure it’s just water-weight…”

The second piece of any triathlete training is running.  This is the part where I pick up my bike and haul it down 5 flights of stairs, lifted overhead.  And then do it all over again when my ride is over.  Only at that point, I’m going UP 5 flights of stairs instead of down, and my blindingly white legs feel like jello.  This part makes me want to say inappropriate words under my breath.

Of course, no triathlon is complete without 2 wheels and an open road…which brings me to my one true love:  cycling.

I’ll be honest, since moving to Colorado 18 months ago, I have been a bit discouraged in the cycling department.  This hobby that has always brought me so much peace cruising through endless stretches of Minnesota farmlands and old dusty Canyon roads in the Oregon desert, has left me disappointed here in the ‘burbs where stop signs are many, pot holes are endless and traffic swerving is constant.

There is a highway right by my house that heads out into the foothills, and crawls up into the Rocky Mountains.  From it, I can see a rocky ridge line elevated in the distance, and a trail lining the tip with cyclists cruising for miles on end.  “Someday, I want to be them.” I always think.  “Someday, I want to ride that ridge line into the sunset.”  It seemed so out of my league – way above my skill level.

For yesterday’s ride, however, I settled for the familiar.  The pot hole ridden road where I have to push a button at the street corner to get a WALK signal.  The roads where my teeth are clenched in hopes that I don’t become road kill as the gust from a passing car throws my balance.  Yesterday I was doing my same old routine…well, until…

Until I saw the entrance to a little paved path…“Huh, wonder where this goes?”  And I took it.  Suddenly I felt like I had just entered through the doors of Narnia.  Well, a “semi-ghetto Narnia” perhaps.  A river rushed to the right of the path…not even the beer cans floating down could phase me.  “It’s beautiful,” I gasped.  Looking left, luscious green fields stretched out…or were they overgrown weeded parking lots?  No matter, “It’s lovely!” I breathed.  A little rabbit scurried across the path in front of me with a flower blossom in it’s mouth…well, I think it was a rabbit.  Either that or a sewer rat with a bird leg in it’s teeth.  “How cute!” I squealed.

Happy to be on my first Colorado trail, away from the hustle and bustle of city roads, I felt that peace start to invade my spirit that I had missed so much from my cycling past.  I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face as I picked up speed, the cool Colorado breeze hitting my face…and gnats hitting my teeth.

The trail continued winding through the woods for miles and miles and I wondered where this adventure was taking me.  It didn’t matter.  The further away I got from city life, the more at rest my heart became.  Suddenly, I came out of the wooded trail and my breath was taken away.  For as far as the eye could see were deep, rolling hills and a Rocky Mountain backdrop.  I had no idea where I was, but I was loving it…and so I kept going.

Rolling hills turned into winding climbs.  My legs were feeling the burn at this point.  It’s early in the season and I’d already pushed myself past the mileage that I felt I was capable of.  But my curiousity kept my legs pumping – curious to know where this path would lead.  Just when I thought my legs couldn’t take it anymore, just when the wheels were turning slower and slower and the climb was becoming so intense that I.just.couldn’t.pump.any.harder…

I tipped over.

Yes, mock me if you’d like, but when your feet are clipped into a road bike, there are times that you simply can’t wretch your feet free in time.

Dusting myself off {and looking left, then right to make sure my spill had not been seen, photographed or Flip Cam’ed for a future YouTube debut}, I made my way up the last bit of steep incline.  As my front wheel peeked over the top of the vertical trail in front of me, my jaw dropped to the ground at what I saw:

Hopping off my bike, we both dropped to the ground (voluntarily this time) as I sat and just watched and waited while the sun dipped behind the Rocky Mountain view stretched out in front of me.   It was quiet, peaceful, serene.  It was powerful, majestic and breathtaking.     Wouldn’t you know?  I was sitting on top of that far off ridge line at the feet of the Rockies.

Gazing out at the view, I thought about how I desire to live my life more like this ridgeline bike adventure and a little less like my typical city-sidewalk-tour.  Often I wake up and take the same-old-same-old trails of life.  The same ways of thinking, the same ways of doing.  The quote I have below my signature attached to my work emails says,

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always have what you’ve always had.” 

 I love that quote.  I want more of it in my life.  More curiousity to where new trails take me.  More drive to keep going up the inclines of life that often have me shrugging my shoulders and turning back around before ever knowing what was on the other side.  More tales to tell and less giving up too soon.  More semi-ghetto-Narnia’s that lead to Ridgeline Views.

Where else am I settling in life?  How else can I shake things up, bring fresh LIFE to routine and stagnant places and relationships?  What are areas that I’ve only DREAMED of success in…but never taken the leap?  Hmmm…as these questions stir, my hope is that the Adventure has just begun.

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