Monday, August 13, 2007

Let's Get (meta)Physical

Why do we as mountain bikers yearn for epic rides in the mountains? Exposure to the elements, dehydration, suffering, risk of bodily harm, and exhaustion may seem crazy to some, unappealing to most.

So why do we do it? Is it a weekly pilgrimage?

For Tibetans, a pilgrimage refers to the journey from ignorance to enlightenment, from self-centeredness and materialistic preoccupations to a deep sense of the relativity and interconnectedness of all life.

Difficulty is considered a part of the pilgrimage and for some a form of purification. For some, the more difficult the pilgrimage, the more enlightenment one achieves.

The goal of a pilgrimage has less to do with a particular destination than the journey itself. Through mountain biking there is focus. By circumambulating mountains, we temporarily transcend our daily lives. We shed our habits and materialistic attachments of inattention that restrict awareness of a larger reality.

These are some things to think about (or not think about) on your next ride.


Author's Note: These are some thoughts I had after watching Seven Years in Tibet last night.

10 comments:

Chris said...

Maybe an escape from reality for just a short time.

Jeff said...

Or maybe it's an escape into reality...

kathy and jeff said...

It's what keeps me sane in this insane world. Thank God for the opportunity and spectacular place we live!

Brent said...

Great movie... it had a similar effect on me. I studied Buddhism for quite few years after that. Bike riding is very Zen like...

Marcus said...

When I had my near death bike wreck, I met a woman who told me that the reason I liked cycling so much is that it was one of the few activities that " flexed" both sides of my brain. It made sense to me. Planning, execution and focus, when you are gripped and pouring it on for a downhill, your thoughts are streamilned and even if someone is calling your name, you wont lose your focus on the bike and the trail. I like to think when I am climing I get into a meditative rythm. If I find myself mentally going over the bad parts of the day, I work hard to think of circles. All of the cirlcles I am turning. Everything starts making sense. Everything happens in circles. Cycles. Stay smooth and roll... so anyways, this woman said that if you get into meditation, you can achieve the same level of focus and get the same " high" Well... I will have to try that someday when I am like 85 years old and unable to pedal.

Xd said...

one word: hermann hesse.

Scott said...

A question was asked of Bob Roll about the fans on some of the mountains during the Tour de France. He said the riders barely notice anything they are so focused. Now that is, 'tuning out' or 'tuning in'...whichever you prefer. I would hope I would notice the Devil and give him a quick wink.

oldmanandhisbike said...

Wow; that is like so deep, dude.
Seriously, good thoughts should be running through your head when you ride. It is a time of escape from reality and a good place to exercise your mind.
But don't zen out too much or that rock in the trail will reach out and bite you! :^)

Jeff said...

Boy I'll tell ya...I wasn't feeling the Zen today at all. It felt hotter than it was on the climb, and the downhill was beating the snot out of me. Still...better than dining at lunch or sitting in the office!

Jeff said...

...and thanks for the Hermann Hesse tip. I did an initial Wikipedia reading, and plan to check him out further!