Friday, June 13, 2014

Music to My Ears

If I had been riding my bike in the city, or on a well-traveled highway, it might have been inadvisable to listen to music while working out, but on this particular day, I would only be traveling on the bike trail into Marysvale, and I was counting on my iPod to trick my mind into enjoying the exercise.

Riding through the shadows cast by the tall trees along the Marysvale Bike Trail, I ran into a friend walking there. I interrupted the music when I pulled my earplug out of my ear to hear what she was saying. She warned me of a snake across the path. Sure enough, he was still there, slowly making his way into the grass.

The research shows that music is great for distracting, numbing pain, and soothing anxiety. I wanted to drown out the sound of my lungs gasping for air, and to take my mind off of the physical exertion of riding up into the canyon.

As my bike crested the small hill that looks into the canyon, the sun was already glaring above the horizon of red rock cliffs. My iPod's music filled my ears with the sound of a bamboo flute.

The bike path stretched before me like a great serpent slithering into Marysvale Canyon. My arms were heated by the bright sun, and the slight breeze was welcome. The haunting sounds of Yashu's flute made for a beautiful soundtrack for this moment.

My thoughts wandered to another time. I wondered if some woman from the ancient Paiute tribe had come this way many years before, riding a pony or walking into the canyon to have time to herself; to explore. The steep canyon walls on either side of the Sevier River would have made a good home for a tribe, I would think. I often wonder what life was like before there were so many people here, so much evidence of civilization.

The New Age instrumentals of The Wind Machine's "Sands of Time" helped me pedal faster up the small rises in elevation, and made me smile as I glided down to the next rising slope. I'm not speedy, and I recalled the teasing I'd recently had about my 12 MPH rides. 

"Can you keep the bike upright at that speed?" I could hear his smile on the phone. If he only knew that my average is probably closer to 9-10 MPH, what would he say then? I justified my lack of speed by explaining that I'm a beginner, and I bike for the sheer pleasure of it, as much as the light exercise. 

Before I knew it, I'd cycled my way to The Big Rock Candy Mountain, my turnaround point. The sun was higher in the sky, and I squinted to feel it on my face. I was glad I'd taken a cycling friend's advice to wear my padded shorts. My tush was so much more comfortable with the extra layer of protection. After I guzzled a few more ounces of water, I put my bike back on the path, and set off for home.

My iPod continued to play wonderful accompaniments to my ride. I just smiled when Ludovico Einaudi's piano serenaded me with "Fly" as my dampened bangs dried under my bike helmet in the wind created by my speed as my bike careened down a long hill. I recalled the nighttime driving scene from the movie The Intouchables when the characters raced down the streets of Paris in a Maserati to this very song. 

As I stopped for a water break about three miles from home, a
slight breeze blew my hair out of my eyes as General Johnson and the Chairmen of the Board sang "On the Beach." There was no ocean, no sand, so salty air, and yet, I felt transported to the Carolinas as I stood above the town of Joseph, surveying the fields of alfalfa before me. I found myself smiling throughout the whole 17 mile bike trip, even though the exertion left me dripping with sweat, and breathing hard. Thank goodness the iPod drowned out the sound of my breathing. I almost forgot I was working out. 


  1. Oh how I wish I could find the same pleasures in working out! I never saw the need for one before, but perhaps I need an iPod after all! So glad you are enjoying yourself while getting some activity in at the same time :)

    1. Depending on my purpose for my workout, I do different things...sometimes it's a reflective/meditative time, so I go in silence. Sometimes it's a social event, and we talk our heads off. And sometimes, I'm working out really hard, and just don't want to hear my breathing...thus, the iPod. I think you'd enjoy it, Dawn!


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