Total for week: 31.6 kilometers (19.64 miles)
Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total for month: 1643 kilometers (1020.91 miles)
Total time for month: 64 hours and 35 minutes
“I am not only a body or not only a mind. Mind is part of body. And the body thinks...” says Guillaume Martin, a French pro cyclist and recent recipient of a master’s in philosophy. “The links are strong between the spirit and body,” he says.
If anyone would have first-hand experience of the spurious separation between mind and body, it would be a pro cyclist/philosopher.
Over the last month, I’ve been attempting to extend my limits by pushing my mind to let go of them. I chose 1600 km because it I thought it would force my mind to stretch my body’s limits.
Was it a success?
Yes and no.
I reached my goal a week early and although tired, I had energy to spare. During the last week where I rode only once, because of work and weather; I appreciated the rest, but felt restless. My body was fatigued, but I felt something was missing, and the location of this feeling was both somatic and mental. I craved more; thus said my body, sending my mind into a whirl, spirit agitated.
I wasn’t the same person that began the journey. At the beginning, I wanted to find the point in a definitive breakthrough. Now, at the end, although proud of myself, I realize the point doesn’t exist, no matter how far up the road my wheels turn.
Like a wheel, progress is circular, a perspective I adopted in graduate school studying philosophy, but faded during the intervening years due to the hustle and bustle of non-student life.
Cycling, as it usually does to significantly lesser degrees, sharpened my focus to a place it hasn’t been in a long time. My mind needs the body for release, for discipline, and bringing them together in riding 1600 km in August fine-tuned both. The work of riding reinforced my need to be challenged—physically and mentally—something that has been dormant for years. It placed me back into what I’d forgotten.
So, what’s next? This is the persistent question. My being—mind and body—itches to be engaged, but it doesn’t seek complete release from the motion of overcoming, but immersion in an eternal loop—or for the Nietzsche reader’s out there, eternal recurrence, and for the True Detective watchers out there, Rust Cohle’s flat circle—challenging myself and everything that goes with it. I’d let this slip somewhere along the way.
And I don’t know what I’ll do next, but I do know how, and that’s a good place to start. (Interesting note: Guillaume Martin is also a Nietzsche expert, completing his thesis on the connection between body and spirit in Nietzsche’s philosophy).