Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Draft

Sunday was the day I awoke my roadbike out of it's wintersleep, hanging up the skis instead. The weather forecast wasn't looking all that promising with strong winds and snow forecast. I had it set in my mind that I was going to ride my bike on my day off regardless of Snow, Wind or Sunshine.

As I was descending through the valley I was excited like a little kid at christmas. Feeling the chill of the wind rush past me, letting my legs settle into a comfortable tap, noticing how much easier the bike let itself ride now that it had a clean chain and pumped tires (I should do that more often!!). As I emerged out of the valley I rode towards the Thunersee, a perfect 60km loop from Interlaken that extends from the lake front, through the city of Thun, winding up through cave tunnels rewarding you with a gorgeous view of the lake. The weather was better than I expected... until I hit the lake. Gusty winds started to make their presence noticeable, creating little waves that danced around on the lake, raising fallen leaves back into the air, making me pedal hard as it hit me head on. In that moment I couldn't resist the thought of how nice it would be to have the advantage of someones draft. Being pulled along in their windtunnel, thus, making it easier for me.

That thought initiated me to think that a draft, in cycling, is not all that different from the draft we sometimes seek in life. There comes a time when we all crave to be in someones windshadow, pulling us along, making it easier on us, leaving the control and decisions of pace and direction in their hands. Thats how it was when I had Anorexia. I was waiting for that person to take me by the hand and pull me along, pull me out of the hole I had fallen in to, showing me the way I had to go, allowing me to let go of all thoughts and responsibilities.
The problem with Anorexia was that I wasn't moving forward at all, if anything I was moving backwards. So if I wasn't moving forward how could I even hope to get sucked into a draft? I was stuck... Until the day I got admitted to hospital and there were people, not just one, but many, who took me by the hand, helped me get back on the bike and helped me get sucked into a draft.
I was determined to stay in that draft, all the way, until I was better. It seemed so easy because all I had to do was what I was told to do. It felt safe, like no one or nothing could touch me there. Caught in the draft I began to gain more strength, strength to fight. But there were many times where I fell off the back, still moving, but moving alone, batelling to find that draft again.

On that sunday I had no advantage of a draft that I could get help from, but at unexpected times the wind would change and I felt a little push from behind, making it, even if just for a moment, feel effortless, giving me that little boost I needed. I began to enjoy challenging the headwind, not letting it get the better of me, standing my ground, seeing it as a challenge that would reward me with a feeling of accomplishment at the end. Anorexia, just like the headwind, is a challenge. She challenges you head on, trying to lure you into her draft, a backwards draft. I have learnt though, that her draft is weak compared to other drafts. The positive always outweighs the negative if you allow it to. A healthy draft will lead you toward victory, a negative draft will lead you to defeat.

A draft can lead you towards your destination, towards the finish line, but you always have to cross the line on your own. At some point you have to trust that you can keep moving forward in your own strength, even being strong enough to let someone else rest in your draft, leading their way, letting them trust in you.

As I wound my way back up the valley I was lucky to have the wind in my back, gently pushing me up the steady incline... It was a different kind of draft.
 Drafts come and go, sometimes you get sucked into them, sometimes you fall off the back and sometimes YOU are the draft. Just keep Moving!

"Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance you must keep moving forward".

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