” Not being able to change the past is one thing, totally ignoring it is a different matter. Don’t feel sorry for yourself, don’t show weakness, I kept telling myself. So I didn’t. Nor did I show any emotions.”
The above was written by former pro cyclist, Ben Greenwood for Rouleur Magazine. You can read the first part of his story here.
When I read it, my jaw dropped. His words echo what I wrote about my main character in Wheeler, Loren Mackenzie, a pro cyclist in the Women’s peloton. But it’s also how I often feel in my own life.
Art imitating life.
Ben Greenwood, The Enemy Within for Rouleur Magazine
Being a good bike racer isn’t just about pedaling fast. It’s about being a cyclist, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You’re not just a rider when you swing your leg over the bike at the start of the ride. And you don’t stop being one when you roll your bike into the garage afterward. It’s a part of everything you do, from going shopping to eating dinner. Is walking going to be bad for my legs? Should I be eating that dessert? The questions never stop.
The combination of physical strength and a committed cyclist’s life still isn’t enough though. Most people think getting fit and peaking at the right time is the biggest challenge for a rider. They couldn’t be more wrong. There’s something else required to make everything click into place. The problem is that it’s also the most elusive part.
The real battle is much harder to control and also much closer to home: it’s with your mind. It can be your strongest weapon as you face the biggest race of your season, but more often than not, it can be your undoing. When the going gets tough, it won’t be your legs that give in. Mind over matter, as they say.
I talk about the mental aspect of cycling to my indoor class all the time, using your mind to overcome the ‘discomfort.’ But sometimes it’s the other way around. Some use the discomfort, the physical pain to overcome the mind. That’s what Ben did. That’s what my MC Loren does.
It’s what I do.
But, ignoring it won’t make it go away.
Reach out. Talk to someone.
I’m a good listener.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Call 1-800-273-8255 Available 24 hours everyday on Twitter @800273TALK