1904 Northern Bali

Guest Article: Reverence- The Lunch Break

Guest Article: Reverence- The Lunch Break

by / / 65 posts

My words will only get in the way of what @le chuck is after here so I’ll stand aside.

VLVV, Gianni

Three aluminum drums, three inches in diameter, twelve inches in width. Smooth and glossy on the ends, black track marks down the centerline. They are bolted to a steel frame upon which my bicycle rests – for now. This apparatus is my lunch. When I ride on it, I suffer by my own choice. I suffer because I want to. I have to. I have to suffer right here at 1100hrs, here in the hallway. (Seriously, I can’t leave the clinic until the nurses say I can).

These days I don’t feel hungry around 11:00 (as I did as a medical student). Instead I feel gently excited. I’m fed by something much different than food. At eleven o’clock, I fuel my body with something that arises out of conscious suffering. The ebb and flow of the bike, how it moves and sways with the shifting of body-weight. The present moment, a beautiful moment, because it’s a moment that I create out of my own will.

The Hindu scriptures describe Moksha as a kind of liberation of the mind that characterizes the ultimate goal of achieving Nirvana, or, a state of bliss accompanied by un-mediated knowledge and understanding. Medical knowledge is mediated knowledge, in that it comes with conscious effort. What if you could put in some effort to not put in any effort?

I stopped having goals after medical school. Goals happen as a result of your Karma (see also, hard-work, persistence, not being lazy) – and if you’ve already found your Duty (see also, Dharma) – Goals will be achieved incidentally. We need not be distracted by Goals, they are attachments, or, Sankara’s which are little defilements of the mind.

If there is a God, he or she rewards only those who DO, not just those who think about DOING. There’s an adage in the cycling community, “Do all of your thinking before you get on the bike. Free your mind and your legs will follow.” (Strack, et al 2012). Surrender yourself to the bike, the road and your environment. Surrendering will make you You again. Your true self.

Every day at 11’o’clock, I finish my morning clinic and go to the hallway to ride my bicycle on steel cylinders, or “Rollers”. For 25-minutes, my mind is free of troubles and anxieties about the past or future. The anticipation of lactic acid accumulation and resultant pain becomes an item of the preceding moment. When the pedals start to turn, I am living my Karma. My Karma is to suffer and suffer discretely, with dignity.

Some days I suffer a lot, some days I suffer a little. I suffer often and I’m a better man for it. I’m a better doctor for it. I’m a better Naval Officer for it. I am more compassionate, after suffering, towards those who suffer. It is this universal suffering that makes us human – on and off the bike**.

 

** Note that in compliance with Rule #4, It’s (still, without question, unequivocally) all about the bike.

// Guest Article

  1. @xyxax

    Dharma wheels: tubular or clincher?

    The rim of the dharmachakra is samadhi. That level of concentration and detachment is only attained through the meditative stages of dhyana. Wheel-building can get you through the first. Tubular gluing, or at least the fumes, will start you on the second. So, yeah, tubular.

  2. @pistard

    I just had a dream that my Dura-Ace 7700 was ripped from my old Bianchi, and then vandal in his haste was bitten by a giant Cobra. (Cobras are indigenous to San Diego County and frequently eat humans). Afterwards the vandal and I prayed to the Serpent (who was actually a reincarnation of Randy Newman). That is all. VLVV. Going to go ride now.

  3. @pistard

    @xyxax

    Dharma wheels: tubular or clincher?

    The rim of the dharmachakra is samadhi. That level of concentration and detachment is only attained through the meditative stages of dhyana. Wheel-building can get you through the first. Tubular gluing, or at least the fumes, will start you on the second. So, yeah, tubular.

    32 spoke golden tickets.  How could it be otherwise?

  4. @pistard

    You are a wise follower of the 93-fold path. May you be reborn as a Badger.

    @le chuck

    have you been in the ketamine again?

  5. “Some days I suffer a lot, some days I suffer a little. I suffer often and I’m a better man for it”

    Pure poetry…Chapeau!

  6. God I hate winter…talk about suffering. Stopped by the LBS just to smell the rubber!

  7. @pistard

    @xyxax

    Dharma wheels: tubular or clincher?

    The rim of the dharmachakra is samadhi. That level of concentration and detachment is only attained through the meditative stages of dhyana. Wheel-building can get you through the first. Tubular gluing, or at least the fumes, will start you on the second. So, yeah, tubular.

    +1. Beauty.

  8. One wall I sometimes encounter in my mind is that if I head out for an hour gravel ride on my cx bike, it makes me feel despondent from the road cyclist living inside.

    But, during the week it is best if I only spare an hour a day in the saddle. If I do a 1-hr. road loop I spend 20 minutes getting out of traffic, only 25-30 minutes of good ol’ country ridin’, then have to head back in (I know that isn’t exactly an hour.). But, I can be to gravel trails and/or a cx park loop in 5 minutes, plus not waste the mental energy on dealing/watching/avoiding mid-day drivers.

    The gravel option offers a better experience of letting the mind go and having the legs follow, but I do encounter a feeling inside that I’m not being true or dedicated enough. Maybe it’s just my road bikes telling me they’re lonely.

  9. Riding CX makes you a better bike handler. Your road bikes will appreciate your better skills when you hop a sidewalk to create a gap.

  10. @Weldertron

    that was Paris-Tours, right?  Those folks standing on the corner must have puckered right up.

  11. @Ron I just bought a cyclocross bike this weekend…..I rode Saturday and today. I love the experience because I want to be a better road rider. I love riding in the woods and dirt roads. I also like the way its going to hurt…I think if I stay with it,I will be a much stronger rider in March.

  12. @Weldertron  Bollocks! The guy behind rides a better line with less energy, and there is no “gap” created, very little reward for a lot of risk, looked good tho…

  13. @Ron  Same way I’ve come to feel about mtb this time of year. But I think it’s making me a better road cyclist. (Not that that is such a big ask.)

  14. Pretty stoked to be getting a LeMond revolution trainer soon; as much as I love riding in the cold and wet, there is a unique kind of suffering you get on the indoor trainers.

    I didn’t realize LeMond had one made for him in the 80’s and based the new design on that trainer. Stand by.

    Great article, @le chuck.

  15. @piwakawaka

    @Weldertron Bollocks! The guy behind rides a better line with less energy, and there is no “gap” created, very little reward for a lot of risk, looked good tho…

    Agree, it looks better than it is effective.

  16. Right, I guess worrying about only having an hour to ride a day, and then going for the most enjoyable type of ride, is a bit silly. Plus, I can ride outside around the calendar. I have nothing to be too upset about.

  17. @Ron This is why I’m glad to live across the street from one of Seattle’s hilliest neighborhoods (Blue Ridge). I can slip in a good workout in only 45 minutes.

    I almost bought a house across town, but I’m glad it didn’t work out (yet) because there isn’t anything comparable there.

  18. @le chuck, great article. I suppose I could hide away a set of rollers and a track bike in the basement car park a work.

    I love my rollers but I’d love a decent turbo trainer for some increased resistance.

  19. I suspect, having never “rolled”, that one would get a little philosophical after a while. I should try that.

  20. @G’rilla

    @Ron This is why I’m glad to live across the street from one of Seattle’s hilliest neighborhoods (Blue Ridge). I can slip in a good workout in only 45 minutes.

    I almost bought a house across town, but I’m glad it didn’t work out (yet) because there isn’t anything comparable there.

    I guess I’m just going through a transition and learning to be okay with that.  A few years back I was riding a few hours a day, now I just can’t afford that time. A 45-60 minute road ride just doesn’t seem worth it to me, since I spend 2/3 getting in/out of town to decent, quiet roads. Cross or gravel riding though, yep, 45 minutes is a great break and can be a great workout. I’m 5 minutes from the park where we have a cx training loop, 8 minutes from a gravel path with a good hill, and 12 minutes from crushed stone fire trails. All are great mid-day week options.

    Just got back from 45 minutes of cx riding in the park, great break from work, great workout for the legs. Better than nothin’, or riding indoors!

  21. Great post, as everyone has already pointed out.

    I live in Maputo, the capital city of Mozambique, where the roads and traffic make it impossible for me to get out much (there’s a group ride most mornings at five a.m. but I’m just not able to get up that early on a regular basis). So I do most of my training on rollers – Cycle Ops aluminium with a magnetic resistance unit.

    Like the author describes so well (although in a different kind of way) I find my sessions on the rollers give me a channel into a different part of myself, where the question of whether to suffer more or less demands an immediate answer, revealing much in the process. I particularly appreciate the fact that the altered mental state achieved in a good hard session requires a constant appreciation of the bike, and your own connection to it – if you lose sight of that, then you’re coming off the rollers in a big tangle. I also like the fact that an hour on the rollers is a real hour – no freewheeling or waiting at traffic lights.

    I park the rollers outside, so I get a good view of the Indian ocean (not that I’m able to appreciate it much), but the one thing I really do miss is the feeling of flying through the air. For all the movement and balance required to stay upright, riding on rollers is a disappointingly static pursuit. On the other hand, this makes me appreciate the times I do get out on the open road even more.

    On a practical level, I find the resistance unit works well to increase the intensity, but so too does reducing pressure in the tires a bit.

  22. @frank

    Pretty stoked to be getting a LeMond revolution trainer soon; as much as I love riding in the cold and wet, there is a unique kind of suffering you get on the indoor trainers.

    I didn’t realize LeMond had one made for him in the 80″²s and based the new design on that trainer. Stand by.

    Great article, @le chuck.

    I can’t believe no one has taken the piss out of you yet for admitting to planning on some indoor training this winter.  What the hell is going on that @frank is not fully committing to another mythical winter of only outdoor riding?

  23. @Nate

    As I’ve said before, its great for your pedal stroke and for intervals. I spend time every winter on the trainer.

    But trust me, any time its shit weather out, I’ll be riding in it. The trainer is exclusively for the nice dry, warm winter days.

  24. @frank The Lemond is great, but sounds like a jet about to take off. Which is fine, if you’re after that sort of thing. I ended up with a Cycleops Jet Fluid Pro, which, despite the word ‘Jet’ in the name, is (relatively) silent and can take a sprint without flinching.

  25. @Tobin

    @Optimiste

    Holy cow, people! Let go of the trainer versus rollers fixation, reread the article, and reflect for a minute, or fifty. That’s some serious profundity there.

    After fifty minutes of reflection and a few rounds of “Dust in The Wind” for added effect, I have come to this conclusion. Any of the keepers can pour their heart and soul in a post, wax eloquent with prose worthy of Merckx and eventually the discussion will gravitate to one of the following…

    • A helmet debate followed by an Assos chick, Liz Hatch, and/or Hula Hoop video
    • Someone slagging Fronk about the height of his seat
    • Someone asking about *insert even most minute detail of bike and or training apparatus here* that has zero revellance to the spirit of the article of which it was found in.

    Apparently we are getting more efficient and jumped the shark a little early on this post…

    I haven’t seen Hula Hoop girl yet…

    @Frank You will enjoy the contemplation of The V indoors. We get a lot of that up here. Embrace the suck.

Leave a Reply