AMMBR recap and reflection

It was a hard day today... It was physically hard, it was mentally hard and emotionally draining, to say the least.

I have to admit to overconfidence going into this season. I had ridden a metric century before so I am in better shape than most people. I know what pain is and how to deal with it (or so I thought).

Let's backtrack to the beginning of the year. I am working full time and I decided I did not want to do Wildflower... not my type of event and not my type of lodging. Why cycle and not run is a good question and one that I don't know if I'll be able to answer any time soon.

It was a short season, at least it felt that way, and it was a humbling learning experience. I no longer believe I can do things cold and without preparation. I've learned to place a higher value in training and in learning to listen than I did before this event.

Don't get me wrong, the ride itself was beautiful. At the top of King's beach or coming down from Spooner it was wonderful. It just wasn't as easy as I thought it would be, if you can ever consider a century ride an easy under taking.

It also made me think a lot about mental strength or as Macca puts it how to embrace the suck. I hate to admit it that pain, fear and uncertainty caught on to me... my brain was just not there for the toughest part of the course.

At first I was pissed that my mentor even suggested that I get on the van and sag to the top of spooner. In hindsight it was the right call and it was one that I grew more and more comfortable with as I drove up. If I hadn't then the risk would haven physical and for the rest of the year just remember how long you took to recover from your ankle injury.

Once you get past that ugly and sad period of just pure anger it gets better, it made more sense to ride from the top of Spooner and be healthy about it rather than run the risk of hurting yourself for the long term and not just screwing up AMBBR, but for PG and SDTC as well.

Attitude wasn't the best either. I talked to one of my Triathlon coaches about it and he pointed out one little thing: if you think you're going to fail at something you most likely will. Part of the mental game is to never doubt that you can do it, whatever "it" is. When I did PG last year there wasn't an ounce of doubt in my brain that I was going to make it; even when Drew asked me if I was ok, my mind was completely set on finishing the race.

Thinking I wasn't ready for AMMBR gave me an out and, whatever the reasons why I took it, I used it.

After I was able to put the SAG ride out of my mind, I can’t really deny how exhilarating it was to come down Spooner towards the finish line. I decided to pay the price and push hard down hill (are you supposed to stop when you come to a parked cop in motorcycle?) and how much fun I had overall.

I had a wonderful team, coaches and mentors. I don't think I would have made it as far as I did if it wasn't for them.

Now to transition back to the comfort zone of the tri team. More on that later 😀

Learning to ride again

Ever wonder what you'd say if you were asked to give a Commencement speech? Pearls of wisdom from Jeff Dauler:

"When you learn to ride a bike as a child you're learning so you could be like all your friends. You need an activity to occupy your time until it's ready to be taken over by a new activity. It's mindless fun filled with imagination, excitement, speed, and no purpose. When you ride as an adult, it's different. There usually is a purpose ... a reason for riding the bike. Maybe you're trying to get into or stay in shape. Maybe biking is your hobby or social time. Maybe you use the bike to commute to work.

Often, by looking at something just a little bit differently, you can understand it more. Often with that understanding comes appreciation, which is one of the many things that they don't teach you in school, but you have to learn on your own. Life becomes vastly easier and infinitely better once you receive and understand this lesson. Perhaps I can enlighten you a bit here using something you should already know - riding a bike - with this commencement address.

We shall call this talk:


First, lets talk about the hills. You'll find hills on every single journey. Some will be small and subtle, some will be big some will be quick and steep. Some will be long and subtle, some will be long and steep. You're not going to escape them, and you can't go around them. Embrace them.

As a kid, hills were a way to pick up speed and pretend you were flying. The hills you see as a grown up are a bit different. Part of that is perspective ... as a kid, you focused on the speed and ease of the downhill … no thought to the climb as it was a means to get to the fun part. As an adult, you'll focus on the challenge and agony and duration of the climb. This is natural ... but you need to enjoy every second of the up and downs.

Going uphill, don't keep your head down the whole time. When you are pushing yourself, it's natural to tuck in, look at the ground, and focus on the tough task at hand. If you do that all the way up, you're going to miss a lot of the scenery. Look up. Look around. See the views you pass by, as it might be the only time you're in that place.

When you were a kid, the downhills were a place to go push to go as fast as you can. As a grown-up, it might be natural to do that as well. When things get easy, you'll keep pedaling and pushing and trying to go as fast as you can. You don't have to do that. It seems natural, to use the 'easy' time to fly harder and faster. But sometimes it's ok to coast ... it gives you time to take a breath and relax and enjoy the labor you put in to get there. You didn't push up that incline just to race through the downhill, did you? Take a moment to enjoy the work you put in to get there.

Everyone falls. You will, and you will watch it happen to others.

If you fall because of your own doing, just pick yourself up and keep going. It happens to all of us. Dust yourself off and get back on. You'll probably be scared … and scared is OK, sometimes.

When you're the cause of someone else's crash - and you will be - sincerely apologize. And when someone apologizes to you, accept it and move on. Don't dwell on past incidents, other than making them a learning experience for everyone involved. Your ride is too short to hang onto grudges long after your skinned knees heal.

If someone keeps causing you to crash, simply stop riding with them. That seems so obvious … but somehow being all grown up complicates these sort of things. Know when to cut ties.

Enjoy the view. Pay attention as you pass things by. By doing this ... learning and absorbing while you're moving ... you won't have to stop and look behind you or turn around. This might mean you have to move a little slower. And that's OK. You're learning and absorbing as you are going, and that is never a bad thing.

Have trust that the people coming up behind you, and everyone around you, will do the right thing. Change that opinion once they show you otherwise, but give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Life is just easier if you think most people are capable of, and will do, the right thing. Some people won't, and you'll see very quickly who they are. Act quickly to steer away from them when you see that … but until then, stay the course.

Sometimes the people behind you are going to see your ass crack, but don't worry about that. It's not your problem. If they don't like the view, they can pass you. They pick the view they focus on … you don't control that. Focus on you.

Never stop pedaling. Always move forward, even if you're only going fast enough to keep your balance. Life only passes you by when you stop … so don't ever stop. It's always easier to keep going rather than catch up … especially on the hills. It's going to get hard. You might even have to get off your bike and walk with it a bit. But don't just sit there. Keep moving forward.

And finally … remember what it was like to ride your bike like a kid. Carefree, with no purpose other than fun, with your bestest friends in the world. Sun up to sun down. Do that every now and again. Forget the race and the purpose and the NEED to ride. Just ride. Appreciation cannot happen without comparison. Keep the energy and spirit of your irresponsible youth alive by going back there every now and again.

And, most importantly, be safe, have fun, and have a GREAT ride."