Seven has always been my number. And of course there is always the mysticism behind it that intrigues me. And this month marked 7 months of cycling for me. I marked the occasion by riding up to Ouray Colorado, often referred to as the Switzerland of America, and a few miles up Red Mountain Pass. I put in about 26 miles for the day, and reflected as I rode home in a nasty spring headwind, how much stronger I have become. This year marks 7 years since my separation and eventual divorce, and I never at that time would have seen myself where I am now.
Cycling has given me strength in numerous ways. In the obvious way, physically I am stronger than I have been since becoming a mom. I weigh 2 pounds less than I did when I got pregnant with Hailey over 10 years ago. That fact, confirmed at my yearly checkup last week, constantly brings a smile to my face. But while that is fun, that is the smallest aspect of what I have gained.
Cycling has given me strength in solitude. I used to long for company, for noise, for distraction. Cycling has given me the strength to be by myself, to foster that independence that I have been struggling to claim for years. I can be by myself for hours in unknown and foreign destinations, and feel secure when I am on my bike. It instills within me a fierceness that radiates from within. I am by no means fearless on my bike, but when I am riding, whether climbing or descending or just spinning along the flats, I feel less fearful, more able to take on the world.
Within my solitude of cycling, I have a found a new friend in myself. The girl that I buried for years under work and responsibility and fear and sadness and anger. The person I was and could be again, when I released past regrets and future worries and let myself live in the now.
But its not all solitude. Cycling has brought new friends into my life, both nearby and far away. There is something amazing and unique about the cycling community, a sense of camaraderie and encouragement and support that is endearing to me.
I don’t know what lies ahead of me in life, as no one does, but i know that looking back on my last 7 months I am proud of who I have become. A little lighter, both in body and in spirit.