It is perfect timing to talk about “The Fogs Of Cycling” considering I just completed my first solo century ride. First, lets address, what is the fog of cycling? I will define, attempt to relate, then conclude with some examples. I define “the fogs of cycling” as the moments you experience while riding on the bike that are impossible to create or recreate, simply put, they’re surreal feelings you experience of being one with the natural world. When you enter the Fog of Cycling zone, it’s possible to be completely removed from everything else in your world, for a brief time period.
When I served in the USMC, we once watched the movie “Saving Private Ryan,” Gunnery Seargant Foster, our class instructor, described the scene in which Tom Hanks’ platoon landed on the beach of Normandy to be greeted by an ambush blood bath, basically a suicide mission, as “the fogs of war. “There’s a moment when Hanks realizes what’s taking place, and he enters a zone that’s impossible to explain or put others in the exact same moment, but the movie does a really good job of conveying the feeling of “the fogs of war.” While the fogs of cycling are nothing similar to the fogs of war in the moment of life or death, they share the common thread for the person experiencing them by the manner in which they go into the zone of surrealization momentarily.
Earlier this year, I completed the “Assault On Mt. Mitchell,” and I put in months of training, planning, prep for the ride that would take me to the top of the highest mountain in the eastern United States. As I ventured 102 miles to the finish line, I was very positive through a very trying time as it took me several hours to reach the top and I was more than happy to be there. I entered a “fogs of cycling” moment as I rounded the final turn and entered the tunnel to the finish. I briefly forgot all I had just put myself through to get there. I could see the big clock, I spotted my best friend Tim just beyond the finish. Everything else was a blur. I could see in my peritheral vision, spectators and volunteers, but I was removed from reality for a brief moment, and as I crossed the line, I felt so emotional, I could’ve cried, but didn’t as I claimed “I made it.” That was a true “fog of cycling” experience.
It doesn’t have to be a big summit or the finish of any event, it can happen out of no where, in fact, that’s when I experience the fogs of cycling more often, I can just be cruising along enjoying the ride and it will hit me. It’s the smell of the air, the feel of the breeze on my face, the sound of streams rolling over rocks along with birds singing, the view of rows of crops and golden brown rolling fields in front of miles of ridges and knobs covered with multitudes of trees as a backdrop that meet the blue sky filled with clouds of all shapes, sizes, and tints of white on the horizon.
I ride a bicycle for multiple reasons including for fitness and strength, to unwind and relieve stress, as a form of prayer, to connect with others and enjoy the fellowship, to challenge myself both mentally and physically. Maybe the greatest reason I ride is to experience the fogs of cycling. As I mentioned before, it’s impossible to convey the exact feeling of being in the fog zone, but once you experience it for yourself, you will look forward to the next ride in hopes that another moment will find you. I don’t go riding looking for the fog because I have figured out you never find it that way, it always finds you when the moment is right and only you will know you just witnessed the fogs of cycling!