By Sarah Garcia - January 17, 2020
Traveling over 300 miles by bike affords you plenty of time to think.
When I signed up to participate in this year’s Cure on Wheels, Inc. Capitol Ride for the first time, I wanted a goal to work towards to push myself physically. Now that the ride is over and I’ve had time to reflect, it’s clear that the benefits extend well beyond physical fitness. I’m talking real, genuine life lessons. In many ways, I feel this ride (and endurance sport in general) is a metaphor for life.
Here are a few things I’ve learned after spending over 21 hours and four days on a bike with an incredible and inspiring group of individuals
1. We are limitless. This ride included the young and old, the working and retired, mothers with young children and mothers of adults, cancer survivors, seasoned cyclists and those who are new to the sport. Regardless of our backgrounds and abilities we all managed to accomplish the same goal. The key component is the human mind, which helps us cope with the physical challenges and ultimately accomplish almost anything.
2. Teamwork matters. I learned the true value of teamwork through this ride. In a paceline the front cyclist breaks the wind while everyone else rides in a close line behind. Drafting like this expends less energy and decreases wind resistance up to 27 percent. The team rotates out, taking turns in the front so no one person overexerts themselves. Life is like this a lot, in that you sometimes have to lean on the help of others to get through the tough times
3. We are resilient. To me, this was evidenced most clearly by the people who participate in the ride, including a cancer survivor who was just one-year post treatment. Scott Sweinhart said when he was meeting with Dr. John Mullinax, a surgical oncologist at Moffitt Cancer Center, he saw a brochure for Capitol Ride 2020. “…I’m like – you know – that’s something that I’d like to get involved with and do. It’d be a nice goal for me to shoot for. To be able to come off of cancer and to be able to do something like that has been amazing.” Any time I felt like giving up along the way, I would think about the fact that many of the other cyclists had been through one of the most difficult battles of their life – cancer.
4. We all climb at our own pace. Although we ride in a group most of the way, when we would approach a hill we would split up and take it in our own way, at our own pace. Some like to sit, some like to stand. Some take the hill slow and some charge at it fiercely. I feel like the same goes for any challenge in life – although we may each approach it differently, we all overcome it.
5. The journey matters more than the destination. When I was training for this ride, I was really focused on being able to complete a certain number of miles – to successfully make it to my destination. Now that it’s over I don’t look back and remember the final arrival to the capitol. I remember the time spent on the road, the connections forged with fellow riders and the self-growth that happened along the way in training for and taking on this ride.