‘Courage is like a muscle. Keep on using it and the stronger it gets’. –The Daily Word, unity.org
The Southwest Bike Initiative’s bike org. of the month for October 2015 is US Military Endurance Sports. They’re a non-profit supporting endurance athletes, sports education and activities for current, retired, and veteran members of the United States Uniformed Services. I raced with one of their members during the Everest Challenge bicycling event in September 2014. It was inspiring to ride up those mountains with him. Their motto is Fit for Duty, Fit for Life.
Endurance sports such as cycling are perfect avenues for training the mental and physical fitness one needs to perform in challenging situations. The kind of muscle suppleness and fluidity bicycling develops makes everything else flow more smoothly in life. I think endurance cycling especially helps with mental resilience and prepares the athlete in us to bounce back and recover. Most of all the teamwork in road cycling is a great platform to foster cooperation and unspoken bonds between people. In cycling we learn how to intuitively know how our teammates are doing, and we also learn to assess our selves and test our judgments in adverse conditions. It is difficult to say exactly what the most rewarding part of cycling is, but certainly being able to sacrifice myself during races for the betterment of my team, and to see my team achieve an objective, is something that has stayed with me and strengthened with time.
I was privileged to recently hear a member of the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s department speak to a gathering of cyclists. He was deployed twice in the US Army and after four years of service, became a law enforcement officer. Then he joined the bike unit and performs much of his patrol on the bike. He said the most difficult part of bicycling safely is using the general travel lane when you need to, for instance to avoid debris, to elevate your visibility, and avoid right edge hazards such as cars pulling out from driveways, or cars turning right and left in front of you. It takes courage to ride a bike in a safe manner and I am grateful to be part of a very large, diverse and wholesome bunch of people that finds benefits in doing it. I’m ready for duty.
These photos are from the US Military Endurance Sports website: http://usmes.org/