In my twenties, after a rough breakup, I found healing in an unexpected place. Riding my bike. Since that time I have been an avid cyclist, as time permits. Eventually I bought my first road bike so I could “get serious” about riding. Unfortunately, I was never serious about security and my bike was stolen.
Fast forward to December 2014, I finally saved up enough money to buy a new bike. I couldn’t wait to get on and ride again. Truth be told I may have romanticized bike riding in my time away. Words like, “freedom,” “joy,” and “flying” come to mind when I think of winding down the American River Trail. Selective memory blocked out words like, “sweat,” “soreness,” and “exhaustion.” But alas, I had my bike again and was regularly riding about 216 miles a month, not bad.
When you love something you push yourself to be better at it. It also helps that I’d like to not be as “squeezable” as I currently am. I’m not looking to win any races, I just love to ride.
Sports on television is often a bore to me. Cycling is no different. There are only so many angles you can see before saying “Yep, still riding…” I will say however, seeing a cluster of cyclists riding in a peloton (the main field or group of cyclists in a race) or even smaller groups riding wheel-to-wheel in a pace line is an amazing sight, and requires much precision and skill. I always wondered why they do this. It seemed to me like a recipe for disaster. Though it can be dangerous, there is a lot to the pace line.
Drafting occurs when the following riders follow close behind the lead rider, taking advantage of the pocket of calmer air behind him. DOIng so allows them to match his speed and expend 20-40% less energy.
Within a group of riders riding so closely, communication is important. Pointing and communicating potholes, broken glass, bumps, and nails can mean the difference between a safe ride and a hospital visit.
Maintaining speeds within this tight-knit group is much easier. It allows the following riders to conserve energy and build up muscle, strength and endurance.
The pace line gives everyone an opportunity to lead and follow. When the leader gets tired it is common for him to drop to the back to conserve and build while a follower takes his place as leader.
When riding long distances the pace line is your most powerful tool to get you through. Most people would agree that the Christian life is much more like a cross country trek than sprinting. There are then huge parallels between the pace line and Christian Discipleship.
A disciple can be defined as “Someone who follows another person and who submits himself to the discipline of that leader.” In 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul makes this statement, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” The NIV translates it this way, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” Christian Discipleship then is following a leader who is following Jesus. A process that, though I struggle at in practice, I hold in high regard.
In the past month I have been challenged by join the “The Christian Pace Line.” I know the importance of being mentored by “drafting” off those further on in life, but I haven’t made the effort to do so. It’s not that I don’t have anyone to turn to, it’s just that I haven’t tried. I want to challenge you today to not fail where I have.
A month ago I sat down in my friend’s office and asked him if we could start this process. This is a man that I look up to in regards to faith, marriage, and life and would be glad to get strong Biblical guidance from as life throws me its inevitable curve balls. Getting an unbiased opinion from a brother in Christ is crucial in getting me through.
There is so much to The Christian Pace Line and I’m going to discuss that in three more follow-up posts. Like most things, it starts with the decision to not be satisfied with your struggles, and the action to do something about it. Are you ready?