What are some of the words that inspire you? That keep you going when your body tells you to stop? Sometimes you only have yourself to talk you through a challenge, and other times you have encouragement from others. I’m going to share two stories about recent rides where in one I had to dig deep to finish a solo ride, and the other I heard something that was music to my ears.
I went for a monster ride recently from my house in Arvada, Colorado to Echo Lake, Colorado. It was about 90 miles round trip with about 7,900 vertical feet. I had intentionally planned to do this ride solo so that I could pedal at my own pace without feeling any pressure to wait for or keep up with a group. It was actually a training ride for me as I’m preparing to ride in the Triple Bypass next month. At about 30 miles into the ride, the negative self talk started (this may also have been when my sit bones found their vocal cords, but I can’t be sure). “I’ve gone far enough… I don’t really NEED to go all the way.” “My legs are sure feeling HEAVY.” “It’s so HOT! I wish I had more pockets to stuff my vest into.”
But then I got to the shady part of the road, and I was less hot. Maybe the lower temperature was due to the elevation. Either way, I can’t be sure. But I knew I had less than 10 miles to go to Echo Lake. I could feel the thinner air as I continued to pedal. At four miles from Echo Lake, I stopped to put on some of those clothes that had made me feel so unbearably hot and was grateful for every garment I’d worn when I departed from my house that morning. The skies were sprinkling and I could see storm clouds building as I looked back toward Denver. At this point, I had two choices: one was to continue upward and hope that the storm had passed by the time I began my descent. The other was to turn around now and deal with potentially wet, slippery roads on the descent. The words that came to mind this time were “I did not pedal this far and hard just to turn around when I am so close to the top.” So I kept going and eventually the sun reappeared.
As I glided to a stop at Echo Lake Lodge, I could see the lake shimmering in the sun, surrounded by mounds of melting snow. I went in and bought a Coke and sat outside in the sun to drink it and take in the scenery. Had I brought more than my emergency $5 with me, I could have enjoyed a slice of pie with that Coke. Next time I’ll remember to double my budget for this expensive destination. I’m proud to say that after rejuvenating with the Coke and my snacks, I felt like I could have continued upward on Mt. Evans Road. However, it was already getting late in the day and there isn’t any cell service up there. I didn’t want my family to send out a search party, so I turned around and headed for home.
On another recent ride, I was mountain biking through Bear Creek Lake Park with my daughter as we were doing some course recon for the Beti Bike Bash race. In previous years, she had been a part of the Little Bella Mentoring on Mountain Bikes program and I had competed in the race. We were trying to decide if we would compete in the race this year. So we met up with a few of my team mates to ride the course. I anticipated going at a slow pace and staying with my daughter throughout the ride. For the most part, the course is flat with a couple of punchy hills. At the second hill we came to, I heard her voice say from behind “faster Mommy” as we began the ascent. I’d been going slower to stay with her and it turns out I was holding her back ~ going uphill! I was thrilled that she wanted to go faster. At that moment I promised myself that I wouldn’t hold her ~or myself~ back again.
What words inspire you to go or keep you going? The phrase “I did not pedal this far and hard to turn around when I’m so close to the top” has gotten me through a number of rides. But hearing “faster mommy” made my heart sing. She’s come so far as a mountain biker. I suspect one day I’ll be the one in back saying “wait for mommy!” but she’ll be too far ahead to hear it.