Conquering one fear can give you the confidence to address other challenges in your life.
We all have things that cause us to fear certain events in life. In our minds we tend to think of the worst case scenario of the event so we do everything possible to avoid it. Interestingly it’s often turns out not as bad we think.
When I switched to wearing cycling shoes and toe clips, experienced riders told me that I would fall. They had too. Before the first few rides, I diligently practiced snapping in and out of the clips at least 50 times on both legs. Snapping in and out was so much on my mind because the thought of falling and breaking something scared me.
Today I fell twice today and luckily didn’t get hurt. In fact, it was liberating and to some degree inspiring. Facing and overcoming a fear removes a heavy emotional weight and interestingly, gives you the courage to face other things that you might be avoiding for fear of it.
What you likely don’t know that I am training for a century ride in August (#womens100) and today was my first day of practicing to “attack hills”. Let’s just say riding the hills taught me a few lessons.
Always plan for the unexpected and take food with you. A wrong turn can turn a short ride into a very long one. Alan from Reeves Training recommends food that has a combination of good carbs and protein. It can be as simple as a PB&J sandwich made with whole wheat bread or a Cliff bar. You should be eating something every hour to stay properly fueled on a ride.
Having too much is better than not enough. One water bottle may be plenty for your typical ride in cooler months but as the weather gets warmer it’s a good idea to take two bottles to keep properly hydrated. As a general rule, you should be continuously sipping water rather than waiting to feel thirsty. If you’re gulping water when you stop, it’s a sign that you need to drink more frequently.
You’re probably not going to have your strongest performance in a new environment. Exploring a new route adds to the element of difficulty because it’s harder to anticipate changes. It’s a good example of life and likely the very reason people hate change. However, there is a richness to it because life teaches us valuable lessons when we change things up.
Today I was riding a new route, a challenging course and somehow I got lost. I tried back tracking to find the right turn but ended up taking another wrong turn. My first fall was on that turn. I was still in a big gear from the descent and struggling to gain speed when I turned into a really steep hill. My speed quickly dropped and I quickly found myself on the ground. Luckily the ground was soft and there were no witnesses.
Rather than trying to find the more familiar path I decided to ride the rest of the new route. The second fall came shortly after and for the exact same reason. I didn’t shift gears fast enough from the descent and found myself without the speed or the right gear needed to make it up the next hill. I fell over again. This time on concrete with two sweet older ladies watching from their car. They were so concerned for my wellbeing and likely found it odd that I was laughing about it. Sometimes you have to repeat the mistake to learn the lesson.
Lesson learned….shift gears faster after a big decent or you’ll fall down on the next climb. Now think about it in the context of life. Learning to shift gears quickly is an essential skill to survive and thrive in life and business. Are you shifting mental gears fast enough to skillfully navigate all the different aspects of life or are you constantly unprepared for the next step?
Sports teach you so many wonderful life lessons. Cycling is one that you can do at any age and at any size, shape or condition and obviously, you don’t have to be perfect to do it.