Since I did my first century last fall and posted a video and blog entry about it, I’ve wanted to do another. One thing, though, stood in my way …me. I knew how much work I had ahead of me. –- at least that’s what I’ve been thinking all this time. After all, I “got lucky” by completing that century. Yeah, that’s the thing; all that thinking is what was getting in my way.
I think that’s true for so many of us – especially those of us who are not as “seasoned” and “experienced” as other riders appear to be. Since some of the rides that the “seasoned” riders do sound so difficult, they simply must require extensive (and complicated) training in order to be successful, right? Heh.
Let’s be very clear about this. The mind is really the only thing you need to “train”.
Now, now. Don’t get me wrong. Clearly, there is some physical training required but perhaps not as much as you might think. (There goes that word, again!)
You see since ‘08, I’ve gone from the ranks of the “unseasoned”, novice rider to one of moderate experience on some levels. I’ve managed to climb 3 of the highest mountains in the state successfully – twice. As of last weekend, I’ve also managed to complete my second century – ever. Both of these particular efforts were so high up in the elevation of my mind that I wasn’t sure I would EVER be able to complete them even once. Now, I’ve done them both, twice, and I will do more of them in the near future. From my various posts (both blog and discussions), you know that I’ve done my allottment of training. What I haven’t always shared is how much “training” and even “housekeeping” that I had to do upstairs. (Boy-o-boy, if only they made s*ortlegs for the brain!)
I’ve had several conversations with folks who attend my group rides and are my riding buddies about these particular rides. Some have done one of them but not the other. Others haven’t done either effort, yet. They tell me things (of why they can’t do these rides) that I used to tell others, but what’s really standing in their way? It’s the same thing that stood in mine – the voices in their head. Oh boy, those “voices” will say the most, miserable things, too! The worst of any of them is this expectation that we have to be perfect before we’ll attempt something we imagine as being really hard.
Why? Why is that?
Why do we expect ourselves to be perfect when we live in the world filled with imperfections and when – in fact – perfection is a futile and impossible goal?! Don’t think so? Let’s examine this for a minute. What determines perfection? We do. By what means? Our opinion, that’s how. Ah hah – did you catch that? Our opinion is what determines what we think/believe to be perfection. Since when is our opinion is EVER perfect?! Not only that, ruminate on this. When we reach that goal of “perfection”, as dictated by an aforementioned thought, what happens next? We create a new realm of “perfection” with respect to our accomplishment. So, our old “perfect” no longer is, and the new one becomes the next realm toward which we must forever stretch. (Ugh, sounds exhausting. Doesn’t it?)
So coming back to achieving those “unachievable” rides, take it from a person who has “been there” and “done that”. If the voices in your head are telling you that you can’t possibly complete a century or climb a mountain, let me assure you that those voices are wasting your time and your happiness. Get out there. Do those things you think you can’t do. You might surprise yourself – just as I’ve surprised myself. Then when you do, that means you have to go out and do it again. Yes – again! Why? So, you’ll realize that you didn’t “get lucky” on that day, on that ride for [insert your personal number here] reasons. It really was you who accomplished that effort, and those rides really didn’t take an act of God or some magic potion (that only other cyclists possess). All it took was honest effort and some decent training …and most importantly, the willingness to try.