With the weather being less than cooperative lately, my training has definitely been a road to nowhere. While I have been busting my ass on the trainer, nothing substitutes a quality outdoor ride. My cycling prayers were finally answered yesterday. I kitted up in my new VK digs and got my steel machine ready for the beat down I was about to receive. My brother asked me if I wanted to “go on a ride” or “get my ass kicked”. I chose option #2.
I’ve been trying to do more rides from my front door lately, and this one proved to be a top-notch route. I never realized I had my very own Koppenberg in my backyard! The TN DOT doesn’t do a good job of repairing the roads, so it was as close as one could get to cobbles, without actually being cobbles. My brother and I set out on what I later described as “getting my ass stomped”.
We pedaled. And climbed. And pedaled. And climbed. At one point he asked, “how do your legs feel?” I felt tired, but ok, so I lied and said “GREAT!” And we kept going.
The last ten miles nearly killed me. Short, but STEEP climbing awaited us. I remember thinking “there’s no possible way I’m making that!” I thought I might fall over at one point, grinding my legs as hard as they would go. I tried to imagine all the times I felt like crap on the bike, and hoped I would push through the pain. And you know what? I did.
We finally made it back to our neighborhood, and this was the moment I realized what I had accomplished. 30 miles. 2,400 ft of climbing. I did this on a 30+ lb steel bike with a standard crank. It wasn’t an enduro, gravel grinder, or even a metric century…but it was a ride that tested my mental and physical strength. It was a ride that taught me what I’m made of and how far I’ve come. I know in my heart I would not be here now if not for all the hard work and suffering I’ve experienced in the last year. I don’t even know my own legs anymore.
Things I once thought were impossible are happening all around me. The fear has turned into strength. The frustration turned into determination. I can do this. I can do anything. I just have to respect the fear, know it exists, and press forward to better myself. This comes into play, not only in my training, but in my every day life.
Great things are happening. I’ve decided to take a leap of faith, and start the next chapter of my life. I’m surrounded by awesome souls, full of love and kindness, so how could this be wrong? I’m excited to move forward and anxiously awaiting what life has in store for me, both on and off the bike.
So, don’t be afraid. Press on. Push yourself past where you THINK you can go…you’ll be surprised. I promise.
**Thanks, bro, for punishing me. When can we do it again?