Last week we officially began our “Fitness For Spirit” series.
Today we highlight bike enthusiast, Dereka Hendon.
She’s a member and Cycling Mentor for the All Women’s Triathlon Team, and a member of Major Taylor Iron Riders Cycle Club. The Nevada native placed in triathlons and credits the cycling portion for improving her time overall.
We spoke to Dereka about her journey as a cyclist and how she uses her spirituality to get through some of her longest rides.
When did you begin bike riding?
I began about six years ago. I rode a giant mountain bike until it couldn’t take it anymore. When I look back on that bike, it really weighed a ton. I began by suggestion from my brother because I thought my running days were over. I am an active person and didn’t want to just sit around, so I gave it a try. I loved it! I rode that entire summer. Now, I am on my third bike and have two commuter bikes. To get better, I train with better cyclist and I pay it forward. I am a member of the All Women’s Triathlon Team (Cycling Mentor) and a member of Major Taylor Iron Riders Cycle Club. Although I haven’t taken on an actual race, I have placed in triathlons and know the cycling portion improved my time overall.
Describe how much you bike.
If I am training, I am on the bike three to four times a week. I will commute if I can’t ride on the weekends.
When did you realize biking would be your activity of choice for living a healthy lifestyle?
My love of cycling became apparent when I discovered when I wanted to perform better. It changed my nutrition immediately!
Describe how you feel when you’re biking?
Free! It’s one of the best parts of my week. As for my group rides, whether with the All Women’s Triathlon Team or Major Taylor Iron Riders, I am happiest when I ride with them. Where else can you get in shape and see friends you enjoy spending time with?
What are the ways biking could put a person in tune with their deeper self and their spiritual connection?
You have nothing to think about or focus on other than yourself and turning those wheels. The longer rides, 70 miles or more, give you ample time to clear your head and find answers. I come up with the best ideas when I ride.
What are some of the misconceptions about biking?
That [black people] don’t do that and it’s a “white sport,” which, in fact, is what made me love it more! When I learned the history of Major Marshall Taylor who was an international competitor, in 1899, I dispelled the myth in my own mind. To have a supportive group and like-minded folks is incomparable.
Lots of people fall off the wagon when it comes to fitness. What are your thoughts on the idea of making your fitness regimen part of your spiritual life in order to maintain focus?
Having faith and focus are essential to tackling big rides. Particularly if its your first one. You must have something to draw from to get over that difficult moment when you think you can’t make it any further. My spirituality has gotten me through countless times.