Monday, January 7, 2013

The Zone

As cyclists, or any type of athlete, we strive to be our best. Your best could be anything from winning your local masters’ crit, becoming a world champion, being a better parent or mastering a new skill. Everything comes into play- your diet, sleep, life decisions, completing every painful interval- to get you to achieve that goal. It doesn’t happen overnight and it’s not easily attainable.

No matter what your goals are or whatever your best may be, chances are good that at some point you’ll find yourself “in the zone.” Anyone who’s been there knows exactly what it is. It’s a state of zen. It’s a feeling of effortless and complete focus. You’re powerful, graceful, and it all feels so easy. It’s addicting- one trip and you want more of it.

But the zone is elusive. It’s not easy to find or to get back to. When I sat down to write this article, I found myself getting distracted. I checked my phone, jumped in and out of conversations, and wondered what I should eat for a pre-bedtime snack.
My mind was running on all cylinders… except the one needed for writing this article. It took sitting down, getting quiet, turning off my head and going. Just like on the bike, you have to shut off and just go. Let go of everything and ride.

I recently read an article about thinking more like Sherlock Holmes. The article said to do that, one has to be more mindful, to be aware of their surroundings but focused on the moment. Don’t worry about what’s going to happen next or what might happen, live in the now. That’s what being in the zone is, being in the now. How great would it be to live in the zone 24 hours a day, seven days a week? Work, family, and training would all benefit from simply letting go and enjoying the ride. So now try it! Go for a fun ride, you just may find yourself in the zone.

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