My Faith is Constantly Being Strengthened - Ben King
I was raised in a Christ-centered home and grew up with all the answers to big questions about life. I feel like my faith is constantly being renewed and strengthened by my own experiences, and facing my fears and doubts has led to affirmations.
My faith grew a lot on a service trip I took in middle school to Chattanooga, Tennessee. There the answers and theology I grew up with took on a life of their own. I saw God’s people at work loving their communities and offering hope and comfort in the midst of suffering and brokenness. Since then, I’ve been on a number of trips like that. For example, when Guy East, a former teammate of Trek-Livestrong, told me that he and Todd Henriksen, of AIA cycling, were organizing a four-day trip for athletes to build a home for a family in Tijuana, Mexico, I signed up.
My identity is found as a person loved by God first and as an athlete second. This has allowed me to deal with the pressures and disappointments that accompany a sport where you’re only as good as your last race, and where for every good day there are 10 bad days. On the same note, it has allowed me to approach cycling as an act of worship, pouring my whole self into it, as in any other vocation. Colossians 3:23 says: “Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”
I feel alive on the bike. Each day of health and strength is a gift. I think it’s comparable to a musician worshiping. Cycling is a beautiful sport, and I like to think that with the right mind and heart it also pleases God.
There aren’t really a lot of believers in the sport of cycling, so my friends and family at home keep me level and grounded. My parents raised me to be well-rounded, which has helped me adapt to new countries, cultures, languages, teammates and circumstances since I became a pro cyclist. I read while I’m on the road and try to take advantage of quiet times. I found a small evangelical church in Italy near my home and I live with a fellow believer in Italy.
I’ve been asked why I continue participating in a sport where I’m gone 10 months out of the year along with having to sacrifice many things in life in order to be a professional cyclist. I do it because I’m motivated by the desire to reach my full potential. I show improvement each year. Also, I love the sport; it’s a lifestyle. I even embrace the suffering. There is something purifying about coming home empty, knowing you’ve given your best effort and are working to improve yourself. I get to see the world and race in amazing places. I get the adrenaline of competition and have made lifelong friends through the sport.
—Ben King, USA cyclist