There’s a lot of high-low in cycling. On the high end, you can choose to make it intensely physical and speedy, working your body up a mountain climb with a metronomic synchrony, faster faster, louder, legs churning, breathing in synch with your efforts, your body slackens, tightens, breathing into the depths of your lungs, eyes beginning to unfocus, body humming, mind descending into a state of ecstatic blank pleasure.
On a good climb, you can quite literally achieve a vibrational meditative state, your body transformed into a thrumming machine, your mind put into a zone of unclouded elation. This is not about pain at all. It’s about the pleasure of hypnotic, focused exertion. A higher state. Like dance, the mind exiting the body. At the top, everything releases: your breath, your muscles, the focus of the effort. Panting, with droplets of cloudy sweat inching down your temples, you return to earth, allowing yourself to release from meditation.