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Life Lessons from Lance and Riding a Bicycle

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lance-closeup-caivanoapThere’s a point to this, so bear with me for a couple of paragraphs: A mere three days after having a brace pinned to his collarbone, Lance was back on the bike for some light spinning.

Armstrong says that the pain won’t stop him from racing as planned this year, which includes the upcoming (May 9) Giro d’Italia.  True to his “Pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever” motto, Washington Post writer Sally Jenkins theorizes that the pain is a motivator, that Armstrong uses it to push himself harder and make the experience more real.  Undoubtedly, the pain will be very real when he’s making the climb on San Martino di Castrozza, the Tour’s first mountain top stage finish.

Then, she ties it in with an analogy that perpetuates the differences between him and mere mortals, though I would argue it’s aimed at non-cycling mortals:  Where many people look for the quick, easy path to achieve their goals (wealth…hello financial crisis, health…crash diets, etc.), Armstrong uses the pain as a cleansing and clarifying force. So do I. And so should you.

The time on my bike is when I get my best thinking done.  Riding has become a routine enough activity that I don’t have to think about pedaling, braking or turning, leaving my gray matter free to ponder the bigger things in life or solve life’s little problems, or occasionally yell at jerks in their cars.  The result is that I’m more able to live in the moment and appreciate what’s going on in the here and now.

And when I feel like pushing it with some sprints or intervals or hills climbs, which are done purely for fun and to go fast…I would hardly call what I do “training”…the pain in my quads is indeed clarifying and quite gratifying.

Why?  Because I know, like Lance said, that it’s temporary.  And I know it’ll make me better.  And I know that when it’s gone I’m fortunate enough to have a relatively pain-free life (lower back occasionally excluded).  Yes, there’s $4,000/month debt from a previous business venture that didn’t work out.  Yes, there’s the constant clutter from a 4- and 1-year olds’ daily mayhem.  And yes, the dishes are seemingly always piled on the counter.  If I focused on those things, I’d be miserable constantly.  But everyone’s healthy, the messes can be cleaned and eventually the debt will be paid off.

So, what’s the point?  Ride hard, ride fast and focus on the fun…and enjoy the pain that comes with that.  Because, like 99% of the things in your life, it’s temporary.

Photo: AP (V.R. Caivano)
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Daniel
Daniel
13 years ago

I don’t know what to say other than “Me too” or “Yes”.

Eddie O
Eddie O
13 years ago

Amen.

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