Just Losin' It

It’s The Climb

I love biking.

Well, I guess, some would call it cycling.

Regardless, I love it.

But I don’t want to bike across Iowa[1], I want to speed down the rolling hills in this corner of the state.

I love the mobility that being on the bike gives me. I love that I can bike a mile in less than 5 minutes[2].

I love that I can bike to my job in the summer unless there is a threat of storms.

I like that I can make a quick grocery run without having to start up my car[3].

I adore that the combination of living in a small town, owning a bike, and desiring an active lifestyle gives me the freedom to bike anywhere within the town I live without too much trouble.

But I had an issue present itself recently: I accepted a position as a worship coordinator at a church in a town 15 miles away. And although the commute is not long in a car, it is still more than a non-distance cyclist would want to do twice in one day.

But I came up with a fast solution; I can take my bike with me!

So every Tuesday and Wednesday morning, Sylvia (my bike) and I rest for the 15 miles in (or on) my car[4] on our way to the church.

Once I’ve finished working for the day, I gingerly remove Sylvia from her rack and bike towards the trails that are conveniently located only about a mile and a quarter from where I work. Although I have to bike on the highway[5], it is worth it; it is almost exclusively downhill all the way to the trail and it takes me only about 3 minutes to get there if I don’t have to stop for the stop light. Once I get to the trail, I usually do some exploring and 5 miles later I head back up the hill to the church[6].

But as I was saying, I love to bike.

There are so many things I love about biking, but my favorite are the hills.

I love a good climb.

I love the skill that it takes.

I love that as I climb the hill back to church, my quads are screaming at me to rest[7].

I also like the skill and knowledge it takes to know when to shift through the gears for the most effective climb.

In short, I like the challenge of the climb (cue Miley Cyrus here).

But more than the climb, I like the rush of the downhill.

And no, I don’t mean the coast.

I mean, I like knowing a hill is coming and biking as aggressively as I can up to and half-way down the hill. I like to get the speed. And although the trails around here are not super long, I regularly get close to 25[8] miles per hour making my way down them[9].

I love that the only thing I hear as I race down the hill is the rush of wind that comes from both sides of my face, as if it is pushing its way through my brain.

I love that I can close my eyes so tight for a millisecond.

I love that for that one moment, as I coast down the rest of the hill, I can’t remember a single thing. I’m not thinking about what happened at work or what I need to get done; I’m not thinking about my roommate or my family or my friends; I’m not thinking about any sin in my life or any negative thought that so easily pushes through; I’m not thinking about what a plus-sized woman looks like on a bike or whether or not my shirt is riding up.

I’m literally thinking about nothing.

In that one moment, there is peace. It is almost as if I pick up enough speed, I will literally take off and start flying with the angels in heaven.

In that single moment, that millisecond, there is nothing but peace.

I love that by the time I get down the hill there is water coming from my eyes and that I am never quite sure whether it is from the beauty of God or from the wind.

In that moment, I feel as if God and I are together without distraction, almost as if I am one with the angels.

This is what I imagine it will feel like in the new heaven and new earth; that this moment will someday last forever.

Someday I won’t have to exert myself to feel that kind of peace, but it will be gifted to me by a God who loves me more than I can imagine.

[1] Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI)

[2] This depends on whether or not I’m working against the wind or how many times I have to come to a dead stop.

[3] With the help, of course, of my bike rack and handy bag that hangs off the back of it.

[4] His name is Ted.

[5] relatively dangerous in my neck of the woods

[6] As you can image, it takes me a bit longer to go up the hill

[7] Or give up…

[8] It’s amazing to me that 25 miles per hour feels slow in a car, but so fast on a bike.

[9] Real cyclist with laugh at this. I have a friend who has gotten well above 50 with his small-tired road bike