Riding through challenge...it's the small things.


Our city in lockdown...the silence was extraordinary!

Who else has been finding it hard to stay motivated? As each day blends into the next, and each week feels like the same as the last, finding new ways to add some excitement and interest becomes harder and harder.

It’s now 6 weeks since my suburb was placed in lockdown and the rest of Melbourne followed soon after. And it’s been just 2 weeks since we all entered the hard lockdown of Stage 4…but who’s counting? Well, actually I’m not. I have given up on the counting and just take each day as it comes and I have very little focus on any end dates. After all, this could go on for longer!

This week we might have seen the end of the initial lockdown and weeks ago I was so ready for some birthday celebration to take place and put a decided full-stop at our end point. But that was not to be when we were told that we would have to endure an even harsher period until September, limited to our 5km radius and 1hr of exercise daily. I made a promise to myself that day to forget about the dates.

I felt a bit shattered at first being told we would be effectively confined to home, but others I know were really quite devastated, so I guess I was doing okay. To be honest, it threw out a challenge. How on earth could I maintain a fitness level with 1hr a day and being limited to such a short distance from home…not my usual plan of action for cycling that usually consists of anywhere between 180 – 250km a week.

Trying to hang on to fitness with just 1hr of outdoor time is pretty tricky.

The challenge was not about the physical challenge so much as the mental challenge. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve noticed more and more people ‘unloading’ their frustrations, having some teary words, a little bit of anger or a few saying they just aren’t riding because they can’t be bothered. I didn’t want to go to that place.

Sure, I’ve had my moments…actually I had a ripper last week! When technology got the better of me I was swearing cursing and ended up in tears…it was a crap day all round and even the slightest mention of help from the family was an excuse for more swearing. I was crap to be with that day. I had focused on something that ultimately was not important.

I put it to rest and the following day had a short 20km bike ride in the sun and when I returned home I felt renewed, in a great mood and ready to face the day in a more positive frame of mind. I noticed so many things on that ride…the new bench in a place there hadn’t been one, the two swans in a spot I hadn’t seen them before. It was the small things.

Taking time to notice the small things...and the beautiful things.

It reminded me of a special lost friend who always said ‘it’s the small things’…as he endured brain cancer that phrase became so much more important as his days ebbed to their close. So, from that day forward from my ride in the sun I challenged myself to ride 20km every day and to find ‘the small things’ in every day, until the end of Stage 4, whenever that might be…no dates in the calendar.

The bubbles on the sake brew I am making going ‘plop plop’ when I least expect it, the mega long fart the dog pops out inappropriately, the tiny native orchids that popped up in the garden that had been buried by other plants, the sound of the wind in the nearby casuarina tree, the Japanese words that pop into my head that I try to remember the meaning of…the sweat trickling down my back on a ride in the sun. Simple and kind of dumb things perhaps in anyone elses world,

My sake brew being carefully supervised the farting pup (and yes, this is part of a group project with a professional!)

It’s about the ability to be in that moment…in Japanese it would be called ichigo ichie. Literally, this moment we are in right now will never happen again, in other words, some mindfulness…and after all, isn’t that what riding a bike is all about. Being in the moment.

I challenge you to see the small things, but I urge you to keep riding. The moment you are on that bike not only are you doing wonders for your physical well being, you can see the small things, you can experience moments that you will never experience again…some ichigo ichie. COVID-19 is for sure a moment that we hope we don’t experience again, but to get through this I’m focusing on the smalls things, so the bigger things don’t take over.

Stay safe my friends.

Let’s go ride!

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