Sunday, June 7, 2009

Getting through those Tough Climbs

Guest Post by Grace Tenner, Colorado Peace Ride participant.

When I initially registered for the Colorado Peace Ride in April, I took it on as a personal physical challenge and as an opportunity to be a part of the inaugural year of this wonderful event. It’s an opportunity to be with a group of uplifting people all working for the same cause, peace.

When I started training I realized what a physical challenge this is and how much work I have ahead of me to get ready for the ride. So, the glamour of participating in the ride was quickly replaced with the effort of training and getting in shape! Yikes!

Photo from flickr/troyhebe - Sunset in Ouray

Climbing hills at sea level is hard enough, and it’s going to be even more physically demanding at altitude. All sorts of concerns about the pain come up. And sometimes I wonder if I’m even going to be able to do it to the finish line.

So, this is how I get through the painful parts...

I have learned that the power of prayer is more potent when offered in the face of personal difficulty or sacrifice. I remember first reading about this in the book Giving Birth to God, A Woman’s Path to Enlightenment by Mother Clare Watts, when I was expecting my first child. I learned that if I prayed for someone else’s situation to improve, right when I was in the most intense contraction, it would be a very powerful and pointed prayer and would go a long distance for the person or situation. All my best-laid praying plans were forgotten, however, when I was in labor because the pain was so intense...I forgot to do it! OK, moving on...

Riding my bike up a steep incline is different than being in labor, but when I’m climbing, it sure feels like labor. What I’m trying to say is that it’s intense and uncomfortable and the temptation to mentally squirm and wish I were doing something else is huge.

But, instead, I have been using this time, this pain, this discomfort, to put my thoughts on someone else who needs something. And this is when I pray. It’s like putting my mind in a deeply grooved train track (that’s what I visualize anyway). I get into that groove and let the people or situations come to me.

So far, I have prayed for the individuals caught in West Bank and Gaza strip. I have prayed for the “human shields” in Sri Lanka. I have prayed that President Obama receive all the help he needs to bring stability to our country and our world. I have prayed for the child soldiers in Africa. I have prayed that my clients’ businesses thrive and prosper. I have prayed that my parenting efforts are more thoughtful. I’ve looked into the eyes of people and asked them what they need and then prayed with them. This is all happening when I’m in the mental “groove,” while my body is methodically cycling up an incline.

So, I offer another way to work for peace in addition to raising money. If you’re reading this, and need a prayer for yourself, someone you know, or a situation that needs help, please email me ( and I will carry it with me on my ride and pray with you.


deacontimothy said...

Thanks for the post, Grace. This is inspiring to me and will start to do this while I'm riding, especially up inclines!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post. I can feel the spirit of the ride alive within you as it will be in hundreds of riders this summer!

Sr Andrea

Anonymous said...

Grace, rather than ask for anything, I spend my riding time in praise. I'm just so grateful for the privilege of pedaling through a landscape as beautiful as ours is, here in Colorado. I'm never less than awed by what I see on my rides, and am always thankful that I'm here to witness the magnificence of the mountains, breathe the untainted air (between the cars going by, lol), and experience the diversity of life.

I sing those praises, in time with my cadence, which serves the additional purpose of developing my breathing. So, if you ever run out of things to pray for, you might try filling in with praise!

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