Breaking Barriers and Exploring New Territory (Pt. 2)

Man Breaks Through Maze“What in the world did I get myself in to?” That was the question I was asking when I got started up the first mile of Red Rock Canyon’s thirteen-mile scenic loop. This is a route that winds through the foothills of the canyon with moderate (not for beginner’s) uphill climbs for at half of the way—and I was riding this on a bike for my first time.

Already on the back of an eight-mile trek to the canyon loop, I was just barely scratching the surface of my personal challenge to make the thirteen-mile scenic loop and go back home, for a total of twenty-six miles. Now, I’ve done twenty and thirty-mile rides before. However, this would be the steepest and longest uphill ride I’ve done to date.

As I pedaled away from my house, I left knowing that I wasn’t really fully prepared for this type of ride. Due to recovering from a previous injury, I hadn’t been conditioning and building up for this type of endurance in the recent weeks. In fact, I really threw myself into this ride at the last moment because I wanted to finally put this dream/goal to rest. It had been nagging me for two years, and now I was making it happen because despite my lack of physical training and conditioning, I felt mentally prepared.

Wake-up call (reality check): Not even past the first mile of the scenic loop and I already knew that I bit off more than I could chew, but I was determined to keep chewing anyways—even though it felt like I was the one getting chewed up. I intentionally rode my bicycle out to the canyon to encourage my “point of no return” policy. By choosing to ride out to the loop on my bicycle instead of driving out there with my bike strapped in my truck forced me to commit in my goal. I was now too far to turn around.

At first, I thought I had some idea on how challenging this ride would be. After all, I’ve driven it many times before, so I’ve seen just how steep some of the areas were. I’ve also seen how easy some of the more experienced riders made it look tackling those hills. My idea and the reality were finally clashing. Burning leg muscles and feeling winded every eight to ten minutes, this loop was hitting me much harder than I initially imagined.

“Push. Stay focused. I’m getting stronger. Push. Stay focused. I’m getting stronger.” This was my mantra as I was working my way up to the halfway point. And this was the saving grace of the entire journey. Like with any important goal that is challenging, whatever uphill battle you face to achieve it, the reward is much more exhilarating. Flying downhill at twenty mile-per-hour speeds on a bicycle is a thrilling experience!

I reconfirmed to myself that I may never always be ready for all the challenges presented to me. There may never be that “perfect” moment for taking action, but I’m never going to grow if I wait it. Growth is forced by pushing yourself to grow. So, take action even when you’re not sure that you’re ready. You will become stronger from the experience.

Happy Creating! 🙂

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