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Rediscovering Cycling: A Journey of Fitness, Freedom, and Healing

Rediscovering My Passion for Cycling

Cycling was a significant part of my childhood—a symbol of freedom and the thrill of speeding down the neighborhood streets. As life took over, my bike was replaced by golf clubs, and my passion for pedaling became a distant memory. It wasn’t until my kids grew up and needed bikes of their own that I found myself back in the saddle, albeit a bit more cautiously this time around.

Young Zack Old Bike Kids

A Journey Back to Fitness

After a challenging period in my life, including a divorce and significant weight gain, I made a commitment to myself to get back in shape. I began with long walks and eventually, tentatively, started cycling again. I was out of practice, starting with modest 3-mile trips. Despite the challenges, I fell in love with cycling all over again. The sense of freedom was palpable, reminiscent of my carefree youth.

Old Me

Overcoming Challenges

I am fortunate to live near a 60-mile long trail, a converted railway line that stretches through scenic views and quiet paths. This became my refuge, my place to rebuild my strength and spirit. However, an old knee injury reared its head again during some yardwork, bringing with it a sharp pain and instability. This time, determined to not let it sideline me, I sought medical advice. An MRI revealed arthritis, swollen bursae, and a significant imbalance between my legs. This diagnosis led to months of physical therapy, a challenging yet transformative experience.

Getting out there Trail

A New Chapter with a “Real” Bike

During my recovery, I stumbled upon a great deal for a high-quality bike—an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. This new bike wasn’t just a purchase; it was an incentive, a motivation to get stronger and push my limits. I picked up a Canyon Endurace CF7 Disk with an 11-speed Shimano 105 Crankset. This bike feels like a rocket ship compared to my older, aluminum hybrid bike.

New Bike

Today: Longer Rides and New Challenges

Today, I’m still working on strengthening my left leg, but I’ve made incredible progress. I’ve managed rides up to 75 miles and recently competed in my first gravel race, the Dirty 30. These experiences have not just been about physical endurance but personal triumphs over the adversities of life.

Out in Nature With my son

Race Day Dirty 30 1 Dirty 30 2 Dirty 30 3 Dirty 30 4

Conclusion

Cycling has given me more than just physical fitness; it has provided a path to emotional recovery and personal growth. Each ride is a reminder of where I’ve been and a celebration of where I’m going. I look forward to many more miles, enjoying every pedal stroke of freedom and every challenge along the way.

With Nick

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.