Can you imagine riding for 12 or 24 hours? Or can you do 100 km or 100 miles?
If you can imagine it, you can do it. It’s a question of mind over matter.
As much as I love touring on my tricycle, and in a former life my bicycle (yes, I rode one of those diamond-frames that hurt your butt after a few hours on it) – I still cannot see myself on it for those periods of time or distances. On the other hand, I fully understand the people who do, as I myself compete in half-marathons walking (which requires similar commitment-to-completion goals):
- It starts with the “I can do it” attitude! That’s the visioning part – see yourself participating and completing the challenge before you even start.
- Then it requires more “I can do that” commitment. My athletic friends and colleagues call this training. If you like /love the activity, be it cycling, running, walking, weightlifting or kayaking (etcetera), you will be able to dedicate the hours required to get you to your goal.
- Next comes the “I can make it happen” management. No matter what the goal it will require time, effort, and dealing with weather, moods, and motivation. I am a fair-weather athlete who doesn’t like to take time away from my priorities like family, eating, reading trashy novels, and watching crime shows on TV. So finding a minimum of 3 and possibly a maximum of 12 hours of week to prepare for this challenge is itself a challenge. However to reach the level of elite athlete requires mental and physical preparation.
- Then comes the “I will do it” pledge. It is the time where you register for the event, book your airfare and tell your family that no matter how much coercing they do to change your mind and take them to the beach instead – this is going to happen. This is where “the pig becomes bacon”. This is the obligation phase where you tell yourself and your family that you cannot back out. It generally includes a financial expenditure too, which helps.
- And lastly, we reach the “I did it” euphoria. Thank you Nike for those encouraging words “Just do it!”. Where were they when I sacrificed all those hours of torture, nursed my Achilles tendon injury. and decreased my wine consumption – all for the sake of the goal. Good thing that I had my family and friends offering empathy and encouragement of course. However, I did do it and this is the “pat yourself on the back” reward time that you were looking forward to when you started your goal.
Crossing the finish line gives you a euphoric sense of accomplishment. No matter how many supporters, coaches and Nike ads there are shouting in your head – and we thank them all – the accomplishment and the glory truly belongs to you. You pulled your own body weight through all of these phases and made it to the end.
I was recently adding a number of events to the REVERSE GEAR calendar and realized that there are many events out there to get us started down the path of challenging ourselves. Whether it is a neighborhood race or the Tour de France, set your own realistic goals in 2015 and “just do it”. You will be happier for it.
If you doubt me, just look at the joy on the face of Jon Deeks (resplendent in REVERSE GEAR) when he owned the podium in the tricycle category at Calvin’s HPV event in 2014. It was an exceptionally windy year so he only managed 143 miles in the 12 hours, a big drop from his own personal best of 186.5 miles from two years before. The amazing thing about attending events like this is meeting the other people who do it, and the ones who come back and do it again and again. In 2014, Jon met someone who was doing his 24th Calvin’s and who made him feel good about facing a wind had never been that bad, ever before. Jon isn’t going to let the wind discourage him from trying again in 2015.
Are you in your first year or 24th? What challenge will you take on this year? Share your experiences and photos.