Tuesday, October 22, 2013

My Mom, My Hero and Lesson #6 - Lean into the Wind

I haven't been out on my bike in over a week.  Today I took advantage of a sunny fall afternoon and went for a ride after school.  It was chilly and very windy, but sunny and I had a good 15 mile ride.

Lesson #6 - Lean into the Wind
Cycling Lesson - When cycling you often meet up with obstacles - hills, a stiff wind, debris in the road.  Sometimes you can avoid these by re-routing, shifting to a lower gear, or a quick steering move.  But sometimes you just have to persevere and endure and push through.  Leaning into the hill or leaning into the wind can help, and although it is difficult, and you might slow way down, you do ultimately make it through the challenge without giving up. Hence today, I made it up all the hills on my route, in a rather stiff wind, by leaning way forward, hunkering down and pedaling hard.

Life Lesson - This life lesson I owe to my mother, and this is why she is my hero.  

Chapter 1 - Over the last few years, as my dad's mental capacity was declining and his anger and frustration with the things he could no longer do increased, my mom had to not only take on a lot of tasks she had never done before, but also had to endure a lot more stress and unpleasantness than any of us fully understood.  And she did it with grace, protecting us from knowing our father in this way.  Mom leaning into the wind.

Chapter 2 - When my dad passed away this summer, my mom had to take on all the responsibilities of running her household alone.  My dad and mom were an inseparable couple for 60 years, and now she is alone.  You might expect her to be helpless, lost and lonely, and of course she is sad and has her lonely moments.  But instead of giving up, she has embraced all this, fiercely independent, reaching out for help when she needs it, handling things on her own when she can, connecting and reconnecting with friends and family, and moving forward, living life fully.  Mom leaning into the wind.

Chapter 3 - Today my mom lost her remaining companion, her dog that has been with her for 12 years, since it was a small pup.  He had had a stroke and was half parylized and nothing could be done.  Although the vet didn't want to say it, my mom said it was time and held his head as they put him to sleep.  Then she brought him home and went to find someone to help her dig the hole to bury him.  Although obviously very sad, she told me, "It's okay.  I can handle it."  Mom once again leaning into the wind.

I can't begin to express how much I value my mom and this important lesson she is teaching us all by example - lean into the wind!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Transformation

I've seen this quote by Susan B. Anthony in several places, including in the book I read when I first started riding, Every Women's Guide to Cycling, by Selene Yeager, and I thought it was an interesting quote, but I didn't really get it.  However, I think now I do.

I believe that I've undergone a sort of a transformation.  In the past when I got to feeling over stressed and overwhelmed by life and work, typically I would wish to find a way to curl up on the couch, shut out the world, and watch movies on TV.  And some ice cream or some peanut M&Ms couldn't hurt either.  Now when I find myself in these situations, and lately I have been literally drowning in personal and professional stress and worry, all I can think about is getting out on my bike and riding, riding, riding!  I just want to ride long and far and scream into the wind!  

And when I do get the chance to ride, I feel clearer, calmer, brighter, freer - emancipated from the negative feelings pulling me down!  Susan B. Anthony really had something there!  And I am further along on my journey to "becoming."

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Good Day on my Bike! And Lesson #5 - Just Keep Cycling, Cycling, Cycling!

Today was National Walk to School Day.  Who knew?!  Well, I didn't have enough time in my day to walk to school and between schools, so I packed up my pannier and rode my bike instead.  I rode to the Northwood Elementary School where I spent the morning and then to the Village Elementary School where I spent the afternoon. It was a total commute of 10.89 miles. It was my fastest ever commute to and from Northwood and I took EVERY hill under COMPLETE PEDAL POWER without stopping once - even my arch nemesis, the great and powerful Frisbee Hill! First time ever that I've made it up that hill without stopping and this time I even had my pannier packed with an extra 10 lbs. of computer and iPads and more! Do you hear the Rocky theme music?! I do!! 

Lesson #5 - Just Keep Cycling, Cycling, Cycling!

Cycling Lesson AND Life Lesson (rolled into one) - Being persistent and facing your challenges over and over can eventually lead to success!  You can accomplish things you once wondered if you ever could!  That line from Finding Nemo where Dorey says, "Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming," comes to mind so often and definitely today.  I think "Just keep cycling, cycling, cycling," has become my new mantra!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

National Bike Challenge Ends

The National Bike Challenge ended yesterday.  From May 1st to Sept. 30th nearly 35,000 Americans biked over 18 million miles and 683 of those miles were mine!  I didn't even start until a month into the challenge.  Not too bad for an old lady!