2014 D.C. Randonneurs 600K, photo by Bill Beck

In Pursuit of Bliss

Quickbeam and me

If you ever decide to dabble in the randonneuring arts, it’s likely going to be of benefit for you to work on your patience. In randonneuring, all parts of the ride unfold in their own time.

No matter how furiously you pedal, the top of the climb will be reached when the road resolves to stop going up. The headwind may fight you down every bend, and you have no say when it will ease.

You can chase after moments of bliss, but they will avail themselves to you in their own time. Even if you have a sense of when your mental dips and second winds come, you cannot predict when a moment of brevet perfection will appear.

You might be riding into the rain, ascending a steep hill, admiring a roadside view, or sharing a moment with brevet buddies. It’s all fair game for the blissful brevet moment, and it is also all unknown.

This year I chased bliss on both the 400K and 600K brevets, but it largely escaped me because I was too focused on finding that moment and not absorbed in what was happening to me in the now of the ride.

Bliss will not be caught. Bliss is not achieved by a supreme effort. Bliss unfolds and you seep into it.

You don’t know how long you will linger there in bliss’s fine company and if you give it any thought, bliss will fade away.

You cannot ride on in an effort to find where it went. You must pedal in the moment. Bliss will return to you on its own terms, likely when you least expect.

15 thoughts on “In Pursuit of Bliss”

  1. Joy is a choice. We either choose to let go and enter into joy with wild abandon, or we seek to control what isn’t ours to control and strangle the very joy for which we yearn.

    I find that by practicing the virtues of patience, fortitude, gratitude, generosity, sacrifice, or any other virtue (because as St. Francis reminds us, if you do one well, you do them all well), Joy is a wondrous companion in whatever I do, and isn’t illusive at all. But if my intent is to find joy, Poof!

    May God startle you with joy!

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  2. Exercise whether it is running, swimming or riding has always been my meditation…it keeps me centered and grounded and keeps me in the present. Thanks for the post it was a god reminder.

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  3. Very nicely said. And I do believe I’m going to need to borrow your phrase “Dabble in the Randonneuring Arts”, it’s perfect!

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  4. At the risk of sounding too witchy-woo, your recent posts remind me of mindfulness, meditation, and enlightenment. Being fully present, being aware without judgment, and letting joy come to you are all things I’m working on at the moment. I like (as I always do) relating bicycling to many other things in my life, and this post resonates with me.

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    1. I do not think you sound too witchy-woo at all, especially as these are all areas that I’ve been thinking about a lot these days.

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