A couple of weeks ago, I completed a bike ride called the Kelly Brush Century Ride. The choices for distance were 25, 50 or 100 miles, and I chose the 25 since I hadn’t ridden in years. A number of people asked me how it went (how I felt, during the ride) and I said, “I felt great on the flat ground, scared on the downhills, and inadequate/discouraged on the uphill portions”.
I had to walk up a number of steep hills….well, I’m not sure that I had to, but I felt like I did, and lots of people passed me. At one point (maybe around mile 18?) I had gotten off my bike and was trudging up a steep portion of the ride. My steps felt like lead, I imagined my body, not as a fit thing, but more like an elephant taking one big round heavy step at a time. I didn’t feel like it was a mistake to have done the ride, but I certainly didn’t feel inspired either.
As I slowly pushed my bike up what seemed to be an endlessly long incline, I noticed one of the hand-cyclists ahead of me. I hadn’t seen him pass me earlier, but there he was, pedaling with his hands up this incline. There were about 25 riders who completed the ride by using their arm-strength alone. …and who didn’t have the option to get off their bikes and walk.
Seeing him up there, not moving quickly, not passing anyone, but moving with such determination, helped me so much. For one thing, it shut up my mind that had started to complain that it was embarrassed about needing to walk. We met on a straight part of the ride and I thanked him for inspiring me. He answered with a smile, “I’m only being me.” My next thought was, “Well just being you, has just inspired me beyond words.” I was too choked up to say this.
I want my life to matter. I want to live every moment of my life by saying yes to it, not by sitting back and hoping that someone else will do it for me, or will finally pay attention to me, or notice my efforts.
I cannot be hindered by the world (only by my own thoughts) because I always have the choice to think something different if I find myself lost in self-pity or discouragement. I can think about the everyday heroes who get up, every morning, with huge obstacles to overcome, but they do it….and maybe my life, maybe me walking up a hill that I clearly couldn’t pedal up, inspired someone with that thought, “If that old gal can do it, maybe I could give it a try!”
“Everyone has a story that makes me stronger.” Richard SImmons