Yesterday, was an ass kicker.
For years, Earl and I have been one degree separated, we’ve met, we have mutual friends, we’ve enjoyed each other’s company but we’ve never fully connected. A few weeks ago I ran into him on the trail, me on a moto, him on a bicycle, and he recognized me. When we got home, he emailed me to offer some training help.
For a sense of perspective, Earl was a pro mountain biker before I’d ever ridden one, and continues to knock out incredible endurance rides as a matter of course (Leadville 100, etc). Further, he’s a moto-head too, so he knows exactly what I’m getting into, and he’s both excited by the challenge and wants to help. I decided I’d better take him up on it.
Yesterday was training day #1. We did about 55 miles (remember, no gas in those heaps of junk!) and had a blast.
Throughout the ride, Earl gave me hard-won wisdom about nutrition and hydration, training, and most importantly, the mental aspects of endurance sport.
There are lots of tricks (breaking the ride up into increments, choosing when to push and when to go easy, etc) but the big daddy of them all is mental commitment. There must be no way out in your mind. Those who have read Jim Collin’s (great) business books will recognize this as the Ernest Shackleton principle: You never doubt the goal is possible.
Here I am not doubting, although it’s a descent so it doesn’t fully count.
For me, this is one of the key areas where you all are helping me. Even now, when I’m facing a challenge that I don’t necessarily want to do, I feel the weight of so many people who are trying to help me achieve the dream, and it reminds me that I damn well better do them proud.
One more picture- the leaves were epic yesterday:
It was a really great ride even if it took a lot longer for me than it would have for Earl, and the experience of getting to that point of exhaustion and pushing through, was (and is) exactly what I need.