As you’d expect, yoga helps us bicycle in many ways — balance, leg alignment, strengthening, and all other physical properties of yoga. However, last week I found it was the less visible benefits of yoga that got me through as Rosedale Rider 36546.
While getting up the morning of my ride, I found my mantra: Exhale Fear, Inhale Fun. Repeated in the shower, getting dressed in clothes I just pulled out of the closet the day before, and for sure while driving over to The Pitch, where the Rosedale Ride started. I found my Tadasansa feet as I waited for my group of us 25-milers to be called to the starting line.
Deciding to do the Rosedale got me riding again and back into the gym — both activities I had forgotten how much I enjoy. Yoga gifted me the confidence to make this decision to ride after being off my bike since 2019; I raised money and awareness for the amazing Rosedale School for children with severe special needs. I started my Rosedale adventure knowing that it was unlikely that I’d be able to ride all 25 miles. A Thursday night preview of the route showed 17 hills with grades over 2%. Plus, there were other, smaller hills, too. I’d signed up because I felt that all I needed was progress — not perfection. Just as with yoga, it would not be about finishing all 25 miles— it would be all about the effort.
I rode away from the start line unsure what I’d be capable to achieve. Turned out the initial hill that had scared me in the first mile was doable with my early legs! After riding some flats the next hill I made it up a little over halfway. My inner voice told me it was better to ask for help then to risk falling trying to get up the second hill with traffic whizzing by so I called for sag team of Rod and Janet to take me up the hill. I hadn’t made it much farther beyond that hill before another one showed up. I was able to ride about half-way up before coming off my bike. No sag, though, as I walked Mariah, my trusty Specialized Steed, up to the top.
The body awareness that I practice in yoga made it clear to me when I had done enough. The next hill would be a monster, and I had already started to be unsteady. I remembered telling many of you that Sweet Discomfort — usually defined as a range of motion — can also be a length of time. You want to go past your edge into exertion, but not so far past that you’re unable to exit a pose safely, or a bicycle. Just as there’s no pain in yoga, I was reminded, there should be no pain in bike riding, either. All my supporters, especially my domestique and partner Ron, were trusting me to stop when I could not safely continue.
I give my deepest thanks for all your donations. You really did get me going and kept me going with your cheers in my heart to carry me forwward. I am proud to say I was the Number 3 fundraiser with over 20 contributors — I thank all of you who helped me set that record, too!
Of course, I was disappointed that I was unable to make it the entire 25 miles, or even to the rest stop at the 7-mile marker. I cried some after getting off my bike, knowing I was done, but those sad tears quickly turned to ones of joy as I had made it! I rode and walked for over 6 miles, which is my personal best for 2022. I’ll consider it my baseline, for now. I’ll do more next year with hopes that I can ride for all of you at age 75!