My love of biking

This is the post where I confess my love for biking. And summer. And doing it with friends {or my husband}.

I’m on my third season of biking and am feeling like this is my strongest season yet. I spent a lot of the winter months working out and hoping that my quads were going to come through for me. I won’t act too confident yet because I only have one 20+ mile day. Every other day is about 10 miles. But, most of the 10 mile days have felt great! 😉 Here’s a little secret, when you’re gearing up {haha} to ride your bike across the state….well, 10 miles doesn’t mean much of anything. Our lightest day will be 49 miles. So…I need some more saddle time it seems!

I am pretty proud of myself for getting a tough ride in before July. It didn’t feel very good the first half, which is a lot of hills. My quads were on fire and I didn’t have the go power that I wanted. When you’re on a really shitty hill, sometimes you have to tell yourself to just keep pedaling. “You can do it. Keep going. Keep pedaling.” And eventually I made it up that ridiculously awful hill. It’s a hill I despise. Being my first time this year, I kind of forgot HOW MUCH I hate that hill. You come from a gravel road, so basically at a dead stop, and then have a ridiculously long climb. As far as the eye can see, it’s still a hill. I’ve been known to screw myself up by looking ahead. It’s so far away that it’s defeating. I made the mistake of doing that today. I was going into an easier gear so I could keep up my speed and I looked up instead of just right in front of me. We were about 25% of the way up the incline and I felt my momentum die. On a steady incline, you don’t want your momentum to die. I had to gear down some more to keep it up and that was when I had to talk myself into pedaling and keeping my eyes on my tire instead of ahead of me. It’s a lot to deal with while trying to get up a difficult hill, physically forcing your eyes not to look up, moving your legs at a steady pace, and breathing. I think there’s a lot of character building that happens on a hill like that. I don’t give up easily. In that moment when the end isn’t in sight, I can see how easy it would be to give up. I made it up that stupid hill. It didn’t feel pretty, but I made it. And I loved it to its fullest on the way back when I was racing down it at 29 mph!

Part of the reason I’ve felt so strong this year is because of some reoccurring pains last year. I had problems with my neck and shoulder area hurting really bad. It was never on the same side and I couldn’t figure out how to position myself to not have it happen. I worked to build up my back and shoulders over the winter and am feeling pretty good so far. Between biking and softball, my quads get a lot of use during the summer. Last year I was constantly pulling them, which made both activities awful and at times really difficult. I spent all summer putting on Biofreeze but was still suffering. This year, I’m using Biofreeze as a preventative for softball but haven’t pulled them during either activity. However, after a double-header last Wednesday, they were still sore on Friday’s ride!

One of my favorite parts about biking is that I get to spend a lot of time with my friends. And sometimes my husband. Now, as a runner he sprints. That pretty much translates to biking also. So he rides a little faster than me and I don’t have any breath to actually talk to him. But I enjoyed his music this afternoon!

I’m not a morning person, but there’s something indescribable about 5 am on the bike trail with friends. A fresh start to a new day. It’s a mix of cool and humid. We pull into the parking lot and mutter hello as all of us wake up. Most mornings someone is struggling with bike gear because we left our houses during the 4 am hour. We get on those bikes and our brains and bodies start to wake up. Some mornings we talk about meaningless things. But most mornings we talk about real things. Things that are too much for text messages. Because being a mom means you send most of your adult conversations via text. Summers on the bike trail feel like our place to reconnect. Life is just as busy, but we make the time for us. We use the “excuse” that we need to train, but I think all of us do it just as much for the social togetherness. And maybe the bikers “high.”

Finding me again

There’s been a lot of talk on social media about finding your tribe. I absolutely love it!

I went on a girls trip a couple months ago and felt that girl tribe bond. I joked that I couldn’t wait for the trip because I was going to unadult. To adult: to work a desk job, care for a family, take care of a house, and be involved and/or lead multiple community projects. I didn’t realize how much I needed a break from all my jobs! I was ready to do whatever Kyley wanted and not worry about taking care of anyone else. {Because on a girls trip you all watch out for each other, but you don’t have to care for anyone else.} It was the best! I found myself again. Me. Not the employee, mommy, wife, or volunteer. Just ME.

Whatever all this tribe talk is, I’ve realized that taking care of me isn’t about 5 am workouts, clean eating, or setting aside time to read and write. That’s taking care of my physical and mental health. While that’s important, I tricked myself into thinking I was focusing on myself. I hear so many parents of young kids talk about how hard it is to be an individual anymore. I get it. I get it hard. But working on your health is different than working on your soul. All this tribe talk has made me realize I need to work on my soul.

Spring is a rejuvenating time for me. I come out from winter hiding and am ready for sun, fun, and friends. I’m looking at this season with a different perspective this year. I’m going to focus on me and cultivate my relationships. Girls nights, trips, family nights with friends, and anything else that fills my bucket {preschool reference: bucket fillers make your heart happy}.

I miss Kyley. The girl who got me to this point in my life. The individual without all the titles. The one who built friendships, a career, and a family. Somewhere along the past six years I got caught up in the workload and keeping babies alive part. I lost sight of keeping the friendships alive and doing things that make me who I am. I thought one night a week sports and random celebrations where filling my individual needs.

Since having kids, I’ve slowly learned to lean on people. With one kid, I thought I had to figure it out on my own. Then came a kid who challenges me in ways I didn’t even know possible. I checked my humility at the door and found an even deeper relationship with my friends because of it. I don’t think I’m any more special than the next person but I have a very hard time asking for help. {Some people in my house would say the ornery blonde got his stubbornness from me. He might be right.} I’m learning that it doesn’t make me weak to ask for advice or even whine a little about my life. My friends are having the same daily struggles. It’s not a bad thing to reach out from the darkness and ask someone to pull you out.

All this tribe talk is making me love and appreciate my friends even more. It’s reminding me to make them a priority and connect with them more often. To make sure they are doing ok or just tell them how much they mean to me. And to spend a little more time focusing on me, even if that means skipping out on a night at home to just be Kyley out with friends.

Find your tribe