As a cyclist, especially one that likes to ride alone, I am used to spending long periods of time in the saddle with only my thoughts and nature to keep me company. As the miles click by my mind likes to wander here and there and sometimes it likes to search for meaning where there might be none. Other times it likes to sing parts of songs, Highway Don’t Care by Tim McGraw is a popular one when riding south on A1A.
A couple Sundays ago it formulated the Fable of the Wind. Turning from the relatively protected confines of my neighborhood onto the windswept expanse of Ponte Vedra Boulevard, nature made herself felt almost immediately as my pace suffered at the hands of the South Wind. She was blowing and gusting fiercely. Most cyclists lament the Wind, when riding into it, for the challenges it presents. Not me though. I like the Wind, whichever way she’s blowing. For one thing, on most rides she’ll be helping you just as much as she hurts you. Though some days it seems like it shifts just after you make that turn back for home. The Wind makes you stronger though. It makes you push harder. Even when she’s to your back, you still push harder, trying to extract every last benefit from her that you can. She wants you to know what it feels like to work for your miles, not to take them for granted. Easy miles don’t help anyone, it’s those that you have to fight for that you’ll remember and that you’ll draw strength from down the road. I train to be more healthy and because I enjoy the work but I also train to compete in events. Not all of those are going to be on bright, clear, sunny days. Rain will fall and the Wind will blow, might as well get used to it now.
The Wind also teaches you patience and perspective. No matter how hard you pedal, she’s still going to be there. You can’t out pedal or out push and you can’t run away from her. So you learn to be patient, to pick the pace you can sustain and to roll with it. She teaches you to make the best of what you’ve got and to be mindful of the distance yet to be covered, as long as you’re listening. She also teaches you about your place, as you pick up speed riding down into a hollow, shift down and really attack the climb back up the other side, no matter how hard you push, she’s going to be waiting when you clear that rise to slow you back down.
So don’t fight the Wind, don’t lament it or curse it, it’s really there to help you in a lot of different ways.