Cycling as a metaphor for life is something I think about often. Usually these meditations involve taking some trying ordeal I have on the bike and attempting to draw out some life lesson I can apply off of it. Every now and again I find a kernel of wisdom from this exercise but if I'm being honest, most of it's just a contrived way of making my experience seem more important than it actually is. After all, there's really only so much existential commentary one can create from the act of throwing yourself into blind turn at sixty kilometers an hour. That said, if I were to pull one enduring lesson out of the sea of "meta" bullshit I've come up with over the years it's that success in cycling, like life, involves both literally and figuratively dealing with the ups and downs; or, as a director once put it, the "peaks and valleys".
The concepts of peaks and valleys has been on my mind quite a bit the past few weeks. Lately things haven't been following the most ideal path and to say this season has gone totally according to plan would be a lie. Apparently professional cycling in the middle of a global pandemic is not the easiest thing to pull off; who knew? With races getting cancelled or postponed seemingly every other day, opportunities to pin on a number have been few and far between. Proof of this fact: since getting here in early January I've managed to race a grand total of three times. The simple fact is, with every team scrambling to garner the same invitations to events, chances to toe the line are hard to come by.
With no racing and ample time spent alone in my apartment, it's been hard not to ruminate over the state of things. I think about my wife at home. I think about time I could have spent playing with my dog or hiking. I think about all the races going on that I'm convinced we could have or should have done. In the end, I often found myself yelling at ghosts; figments of my imagination that I blamed for everything wrong at the moment. It was a completely self-absorbed practice but one probably everybody has done at least once during the past year. After several days of this, I finally came to the realization that I had to get out of my own head, that there's a global pandemic going on, that this is just the way things are, that there is nobody to blame, and that no amount of aggravated dwelling will change any of it.
I think people often look at gaining perspective as having some seismic shift in the way they see the world. In my limited experience though, perspective if often times just re-learning the obvious; something we've known all along but simply forgot for a second. The lesson Covid seems to keep reminding me of is that I can choose to be upset by the state of the universe or I can choose to accept things as they are and focus on what's actually in my control.
Marcus Aurelius put it best when he said "the universe is transformation; life is opinion." In other words, things will change but until they do, how you feel about it is up to you. He undoubtably came to this conclusion while NOT flying through a corner on two wheels which immediately makes it better than anything I can come up with. Then again, that's not too hard.
Thanks for reading,
P.S. Next up for me is Gran Premio Miguel Indurain this upcoming Saturday (April 3rd). You can watch it live on the GCN+ app.