Sometimes we have plans, and sometimes Mother Nature has plans for us.
I was really looking forward to the Airport Ride today, because it’s on my favorite terrain…flat (or nearly flat with some 1-3% inclines and an occasional hill, just to keep it interesting) and I can really fly. I’ve looked down and seen 30 mph on my computer at times.
I should have known this was going to be a character-building ride when I checked the forecast at 9 am and it showed a current temp of 43 degrees and the symbol for windy. On top of that, I couldn’t find my heart rate monitor strap and 2 minutes before we pull off, my bike computer, which I so carefully placed in the cup holder of my car, was no where to be found and I now have to ride “blind.” Oh well, let’s “get ‘er done” I say to myself as we pull off.
We start off fast, the other riders apparently eager to show off the efforts of their winter training and I’m holding on. I have no idea how fast we’re going, but it’s FAST. Then the first slap of the wind hit me. It was like running into a padded wall. Then a crosswind hits me and I fear I’m going to be taken off of my bike like the witch in The Wizard of Oz. Less than 10 miles into the 40 mile ride I’m hurting bad. My legs hurt, I’m sucking wind and I want to turn back, but my buddy keeps pedaling, so I push on. The words from one of my favorite movies, Finding Nemo, are playing in my head, “just keep pedaling, just keep pedaling, just keep pedaling, pedaling, pedaling. What do we do, we pedal, pedal, pedal?” Okay, I know she says swim, but I was on the bike LOL.
I can’t quit. One of my cycling friends has slowed down to look after me and I know that the work I’m doing today against the wind will make me ride so much faster tomorrow. So I dig deep and smile as I hear the words of my spin instructor, “if it’s not challenging you, it’s not changing you. Why did you come here today?” Well, I came to get faster, so let’s do it!
As painful as it was, and as slow as I thought we were going, we averaged 17.7 mph with 20 mph head and crosswinds (no tailwinds, unfortunately). And I know if my cycling buddies weren’t there to push me (or as we say in the cycling world, pull me) I would have been more than tempted to turn back.
In what areas of your life have you been coasting? You know you can do better, but are kind of on autopilot or just getting by? I challenge you to dig deep and really see what you are made of. Perhaps that means enrolling in that class, or starting that business opportunity you’ve been looking at? Sometimes that means asking for help when you are unsure of the path to take. There is no shame in the attempt to do something and failing. You may be surprised by what you can do when you try and who you become in the process.