A Story to Tell

I have a story to tell. Some days the story had drama. Other days the story is monotonous. But the story is always real. The story is about living a remarkable and astounding life while experiencing the ordinary.

Pedals & Ponderings is a place where my words tell a story.  It is the story of my struggles and victories. It is the story of my adventures and life. It is a story about finding pearls in my pedals, the thoughts that ravage my mind, and the faith (or lack of) that my soul experiences on a frequent basis.

Cycling is an activity that requires strength, balance, and endurance.  Life requires all of this and more.   This page is about cycling, but it is not just about cycling.  It is about the parallelism between cycling and living, and the contrast between faith and cycling, and anything else I just may be thinking about.

Thank you for joining my world as I tell my story.

“Life is a beautiful ride!”  Enjoy the moment!

 

 

 

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It’s All About Enjoying The Ride

I haven’t posted much lately, mostly because I am bored with my cycling.

It’s not the ride itself that bores me.  I love the ride.  It’s the destination.  There is no destination.

I have road these routes over and over, until I know each curve by heart.  I know each house, each fence line, and the animals that graze in the fields.  I know where I need to increase my speed to get a run at the hills, and where I can coast for a rest.  It’s all has become quite predictable.

My rides consist of conditioning and exercise.  I ride so that I can stay in shape and ride when destination calls my name, and this summer destination called to me.

20626138_10154895463643295_4281229466653178905_oI wanted to do something to celebrate turning half of a century old.  After all, it’s not everyday you reach that kind of a milestone in your life.  I had read about some cycling tours in the San Juan Islands, but the price was beyond my pocket book.  However, after further investigation, I realized I could do it on my own for much less.

So after a bit of research, careful planning, and making a lot of reservations, I loaded up my car and headed out for my latest cycling adventure. . . cycling the San Juan Islands.

I may have not ridden as hard-core as I have in the past, but I am learning its not so much about how much you can do, but more about balance, celebration, and joy.  I saw the sites, ate some great food, and made a few friends along the way, but more about that later.

As I grow older in years, and my body refuses to cooperate with what my mind says it can do, I realize I don’t need to do what I have always done.  Life is a journey, and it’s all about enjoying the ride!

 

 

 

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I Almost Forgot

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5It’s been an extremely long time since I have been out for a ride. Bad weather, injuries, sickness, and life has got in the way. This weekend, though, I was determined!

Somewhere between a garage sale, grocery shopping and a load of other”must do’s,” I loaded my bike and went down to the local river path. It was short and sweet, but hit the spot.

Nervous with anticipation, I unloaded my bike and hopped on. Those first few moments were exhilarating. My mental fog lifted replaced with joy and happiness. Exercise endorphins kicked in. I was in my happy place.

3You are one ride away from a good mood when you love cycling. I can’t wait to get out and ride again. I will get stronger, healthier, faster and better.

I almost forgot that, but I will get back out again . . . and soon!

Moving On

One thing I love about cycling is the inward, outward and upward reflection that I am able to do in a way that can’t be done any other time. Last night I was reflecting on the past that has taken me where I am today. It wouldn’t have been my choice to arrive here, but I can’t have regrets, it has been what it was. I have learned much, grown a lot, and seen many things I would have never dreamed seeing. Life is good! Today is great! And tomorrow will be even better! No matter the struggle you are facing, press on! There is strength in the journey!

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. . . I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.12933075_10153574760183295_838892603786278496_n

Shut Up and Listen

“Be still and know that I am God . . . ” – Psalms 46:10

Anyone that knows much about me knows that I am a fitness buff. I love exercising. Yes I am warped and messed up. But there is nothing that makes me feel better than a hard workout, a good bike ride, or an excrutiating run.

Part of being a fitness buff means that I watch what I eat, listen to my body, and take care of my equipment. But there is something else that is important – rest.

Rest allows the body to regenerate and gives stressed muscles an opportunity to recover. It is during recovery that the adaptation from training hard occurs. Sleep allows the body an opportunity to regenerate; the body releases growth hormones that aid repair stressed muscles from hard workouts/races. “Run Less Run Faster”

Without sufficient rest, the muscles and bones in your body ware down, and with too much work, can cause injury.

This is something I had to learn the hard way. A few years ago when I first started running, I got a little too ambitious. I was proud of the fact that I was working out hard 6 days a week. In the process, I developed runner’s knee and had to quit running for several months. To this day, I pay very close attention to how my body feels. Any sign of fatigue and I make sure I cut back and allow my body to rest.

What is true for the physical body, is also true for your spirit. You need rest. Not just a vacation, but a time to sit back and relax in the presence of God.

In Psalms 46:10 we are told to “Be still and know and know that I am God,” this could be translated “Shut up and listen!” and that’s not easy to do. In our crazy paced world of instant gratification, fast food, and drive through mini-marts, sometimes the last thing I want to do or have time to do is to be still.

Being still can mean many things to many people. To one person it might mean shutting down the electronics and sitting quietly. To another person it might mean putting on some worship music and focusing only on God. And to someone else it might be simply slowing down for a few days to rest and relax. But here is something interesting about the phrase “be still.” The words “be still” comes from the root word rapha which means “to be weak, to let go, to release.” In other words, we “let go” and surrender in our weakness to the power that comes from God.

Scripture talks a lot about our weakness. It says:

God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. (1 Corinthians 1:27)

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

Then there is this scripture:

“The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31

As we remain still before God, whatever that entails, we are in essence coming to Christ and releasing everything to him. We are saying, “all that I am is yours, all that I want to be is in your hands, and all that I am not comes from you.” We are allowing God’s strength to infuse our souls and bring new life and breathe energy into our spirit. When we are still before God, we are allowing him to do in us what we can’t do for ourselves.

12998444_10153597464178295_5016136273657125701_oRecently, I jumped on my bike in search of some solitude that I often find pedaling my way down a countryside road. As I moved along the road, I noticed things that I don’t see when I am hurrying to work in my car. I saw all the garbage that cluttered the ditch, the dead carcass of who knows what, and odd automobile parts. I also noticed the beauty that I don’t normally see. I breathed in the fresh spring air. I saw the deer grazing in the wheat fields. And I saw the simple little pleasures that please the eye.

As I slowed down my pace from where I usually dwell, something brilliant happened. I felt free. I felt alive. I felt peace. And somehow in all of that I felt rested and able to face the challenges that impose upon my life.

As we are still before God, we are able to do, what God asked of Gideon. We are able to “go in the strength that we have.” (Joshua 6:14)

 

Happiness Is . . .

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“Happiness is a bike ride in January and getting home seconds before a downpour.”  That was my thought as I walked into my house seconds after finishing my first bike ride of the season.

I had been anxious to get out and ride.  But it always seems like on days when I have the availability, it is downright dreary and cold.  Of course the rest of the time, the weather is perfect.

12438989_10153401312983295_6440703002513836419_nI love the idea of winter riding, but I just haven’t gravitated there yet.  As obsessive as I am, the reality is that I am still a fair-weather rider.

On this particular day, the odds fell nicely in my favor.  The weather was a bit cool, but the sun was shinning, the sky was blue and there was only a light breeze. I made my way out with the intention of doing a short ride, but ended up doing a full ten miles.  Now I know that isn’t a long ride by any means, but when it has been several months since you have been out, a ten mile ride seems heavenly.

For most of the ride, the weather was perfect, but my return home was quite a bit cooler. Needless to say, I made it home seconds before the downpour began.

It was a blissful first ride of the season and it got me thinking about all of the rides I want to do in the near future.

Let the season begin!

 

 

New Year’s Goals

I am a bit slow jumping on the New Year’s bandwagon this year.  But who says that all of your goals must be planned out and accomplished on New Year’s Day?  Real goals are accomplished by breaking them down into feasible and manageable pieces.  Arriving at your goal is a process, something that comes about in your regular evaluation of self and living. Therefore, in tune with what is happening in my life, my focus for the year has naturally made a turn towards “self-health”.

Do it!It’s no secret among people that know me that I have had issues with my weight since as long as I can remember.  I have lost weight.  I have gained weight.  I have been healthy.  I have been unhealthy.  Life happens and change happens and not necessarily in a way that you like.   Sometimes the change comes upon us without our consent, sometimes we are our own worst enemies.  Whatever the reason for being where I am now, I am responsible for “me” and I am taking charge!  It’s time to do something.

The “January” Plan 

  • Drink more water – 120 ounces a day!
  • Loose 10 lbs
  • Walk 30 miles (7.5 miles a week)
  • Clean eating
  • Regular Exercise
  • “First ride” of 2015

I am putting action into changing the things that I do not like about me.  I am setting obtainable goals that will get me to where I want to be.  I know I will never truly “arrive”.  This is a journey where I will discovery new and interesting things about myself, others and life.

Please help me accomplish my goals.  I will be posting regular updates on my Facebook Page at Pedals & Ponderings as well as occasional updates here on my blog.

Blessings for a New Year!

 

Winter Reflections

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The time change has hit us all.   I don’t know about you, but for me it is dark when I get up and dark when I get return home.  Since I don’t consider it safe to ride at night, that means time spent on my bike is limited. Add to that colder temperatures, and even my weekend riding is cut to a minimal.  But I still get out for an occasional ride.

This past weekend was almost perfect for riding.  The mercury stayed around 63 degrees and the wind conditions were bearable.  I was more than ready to hit the road!

The road was a familiar path with familiar sites, but the scenery had changed. The bright Fall colors that had previously outlined the landscape had now dissipated  and had been replaced with the grays and browns of the season. Animals still roamed the hills, but most had moved away or were nestled into their burrows for the Winter.  Change has definitely arrived in Eastern Oregon.

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When I am on my bike, I think clearly.  Problems dissipate. Worries negate.  Life is great.  It is also when I reflect.  This day I thought about change.  How life changes, how seasons change, how I have changed.

Years have gone by, life has gone by, and I am different.  I am not who I used to be.  None of us are.  I am more confident, more assured, and a better version of who I used to be.  Long gone is the shy, insecure, teenage girl, that I one was and in her place is a Woman.

4During this season of change as we ride into the Winter, I am reminded that I am not who I used to be, but neither am I who I am going to be.  I still have dreams unfulfilled, places to travel, and roads to ride.  I have goals to accomplish and visions to dream.

The road and the path may be similar, but the scenery has changed.  All is as it should be.

Happy Winter Riding!

Last Organized Ride of the Season – Gorge-Us-Gals (The Dalles, Oregon)

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Finish Line

Finish Line

A few weekends ago me and one of my cycling friends participated in the Gorge-us Gals bike ride.  This ride, which benefited Haven, a domestic violence shelter in The Dalles, Oregon, started mid-morning with cool temperatures and cloudy skies, but by the time we finished we had perfectly beautiful weather.

The route followed the Riverfront Trail along the Columbia River, but the first thing we did was get off track.  Instead of following the trail, we started out on the highway and missed our turn onto the trail.   Fortunately, we discovered our error rather quickly, and ended up only riding about a half of a mile out of our way.  The weather quickly turned windy as we rode through a wildlife refuge and up a rather steep ridge to the Discovery Center, but other than that, we had no problems.

Discovery Center

Discovery Center

The ride included some beautiful scenery and an awesome support crew.  Its always nice to have assistance available, but luckily we did not need it this time.  After leaving the Discovery Center we made our way onto the Historic Columbia River Highway and rode our way to the foot of Rowena Crest.  This particular day we did not ride the nearly 3 mile climb, but having done it before, I know it was possible.  Looking back, I wish we had gone ahead and rode it, if for no other reason than for the thrill of the descent.

Columbia River

Columbia River

However today, this was our turn-around point for an easy 20-mile ride.  At this point we were greeted by two very charming and crazy guys who filled us up with fruit and Gatorade before sending us on our way.

Half-way point

Half-way point

The return trip was almost a coast downhill from this point with a few short but easy climbs.  Of course the views were fantastic and by then we had perfectly blue skies.  Once again we passed through the Discovery Center and down the steep switch backs that made up the trail.  At one point I took a sharp turn a bit too quickly and ended up biking through the dirt.  Luckily, I was able to keep complete control and somehow managed to make my way back onto the path without missing a beat.  Thank goodness I have a hybrid bike!

Discovery Center

Discovery Center

Once we reached the bottom of the switchbacks we made our way back through the wildlife refuge, and from there it was relatively flat with a few rolling hills.  I took a brief moment along the river to take a photo as a barge passed us by, and from there it was back to the finish line, where we were greeted with flowers and a generous spread provided by Subway.

As we relaxed underneath the tent and enjoyed the worship music that was playing in the background, we decided that t was a perfect way to finish our ride. Thankful and grateful for an enjoyable morning, we made our way back to Pendleton.

Ready to Ride Again

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Brakes are working correctly, gears are shifting smoothly, and my gear is all packed and I am ready to ride.

This weekend my friend and I are going to be participating in the Gorge-Us-Gals Bike Ride in support of Haven, the domestic violence program in The Dalles, Oregon. I love doing rides that support a great cause and what better cause than fighting violence towards women.  This annual ‘All Women’s Cycling Event’ will provide funds for The HAVEN Women’s Shelter Fund and programs that support victims of domestic and sexual violence.

Have Faith

Have Faith

The weather looks like it will be fair, slightly cloudy, with some light winds.  Near perfect conditions.  I am healthy and trained, and am familiar with the route (See my post – A Change of Direction).  However, I approach this ride with a bit of anxiety.

My first “organized ride” was not my best experience in cycling.  Mostly due to the extreme heat and some issues with my bike.   I keep telling myself that this is a different ride with different circumstances and that I am a different person.  And, my bike has been in for maintenance.  So why am I so concerned about a simple bike ride?

This ride is not just any bike ride.  It is my last ride in an organized event for the season. This ride is about about being better than I was six months ago.  It is about growth.  It is about being fully “recovered” and fully rehabilitated.  This ride is about knowing I can become someone I used to be and about becoming an even better version of that person.  This ride is about hope for me.  If I can successfully complete this ride, than I know that I can become that person again.  I know there is a chance to obtain the things I am striving for.  I know that I can reach some, if not all of my goals.  It is about faith for my future.

I have a lot riding on this ride, but I have faith. . . a confidence in my hope and assurance that I will get there!

And while I am hoping for better things and better days, what better cause to ride for than one that promotes hope.  And that’s what Haven is all about.

Live up and ride on!