Never stop learning.
I went on ride the other day with a very promising and talented cyclist. She has so much skill and power packaged up, she has no idea. I was giving her a quick explanation on a couple of things she could work on to capitalize on her potential as a road cyclist and build on her mountain bike and cross background.
One of the valuable lessons that I have learned over the years, is to never stop learning. Each ride I go on, I like return home with a new nugget of knowledge.
Of course I am always learning something about myself on every ride, and can tend to get quite introspective while on the bike. There is something about the rhythm and melody of riding a bicycle that capture the most analytical thoughts and summon innovation from deep within your soul. Only if I could capture every thought! Yet, some of those thoughts are meant to be left on the open road.
Similarly, I always notice something I haven’t seen before even while on familiar routes, such as the way the early morning sun reflects off of the dew on an old barn, or a redtail hawk perusing his potential prey. Each time you ride, it is a new day and you have the opportunity to have a fresh perspective on life.
All of that aside, I also set an intent to learn something each time I am on my bicycle. It can be trying to ride the white line for as long as I can without wavering, or practicing new victory salutes, or taking a corner at a little higher speed and fluidity. Learning something about your capabilities, summiting a mountain, or tackling a descent. It can be relaxing my face, and engaging my core, and pedaling lightly and smoothly. I never want to stop learning. Bike riding may be simple, but there is so much to learn about this simplicity. The more you practice, the more efficient you are at doing what you love.
Learning lessons easily transitions into each bike race as well. The more you race, the more you take risks, and of course the more you fail, but also the more you learn. We do not learn as much from winning as we do from losing. Don’t be afraid of the results, and question your own parameters. Be aware and think about not only your tactics, but others’ as well. You aren’t just filling up a category, you are interactive in the race and learning. It is like high speed chess. Don’t just leave the race with freshly filed fitness, but take that little piece of knowledge.
Never stop learning. Ride with intention, but don’t forget to enjoy each moment.