I have learned over and over again in the last month that it is not at all about me. I personally would not even still be doing this if I wasn’t prepping/training for the bike tour. This has honestly been one of, if not the hardest thing I have ever done. And not just physically…
Obviously it has physically had an impact on me. In my 22 years of life, I have never really been at a place where I have said “this is seriously as much as I can take…” A few months ago, training for my first half marathon was definitely a challenge for me. Trying to stay consistent was a challenge, but adding on more and more miles was also very hard for me. I definitely pushed my limits while training, but it was never more than I could handle. It never got too painful. The key was to stay consistent, to reach the next goal, and to force myself not to stop until I did reach my goal. Now that I have conquered my half marathon all I can think about is how I want to take on a full marathon.
I assumed if I loved running so much than surely biking would be a piece of cake for me. Not only is running bearable for me but is also completely enjoyable. I only assumed biking would be much easier than running. Lets just say I was completely mistaken in my assumption.
Running continues to get easier and easier for me as I fall more and more in love with it. Since I have laid off running some to train for the Pacific Northwest Ride:Well Tour, it has been so hard for me to get on the same level with biking. I have only been biking for almost a month and a half now, but it has seemed like one long month and a half. My first ride wasn’t too bad at all and I figured “it only gets easier from here on out, right?” No that most certainly is not right. I began to feel quickly as though my body was starting to fall apart over and over and over again, one piece at a time. I can tend to be a little overdramatic sometimes, but biking against a strong and cold wind, and a downpour of rain… will make you think of some choice “curse” words. Now of course I’d never verbally say them… but I may have honestly thought them at one point. Lets just say biking was getting somewhat painfully hard for me. I didn’t understand why. I was frankly getting quite discouraged. I remember thinking to myself a lot when I was biking… “I don’t ever remember feeling this much pain when I’ve ever ran… I really don’t know how much further I can go before I give up…” This led me to believe that I was not just being challenged physically in my new biking endeavor.
I quickly found myself realizing that I was mentally and emotionally being affected too. Why in the world was I letting one little sport affect me so much? I found myself getting discouraged early on in each of my bike rides. I was getting really hard on myself… and I wasn’t only discouraged, but I was bored. And it wasn’t the kind of bored where it just felt too easy (in fact, I have never once been out riding my road bike and thought “Wow, biking is so easy…”). I found myself bored because I simply was not “connecting with the bike.” I was sitting there, my feet pedaling away, but mentally I was thinking, “What am I doing? This isn’t even fun…”
My concern was that I had never felt this way while running. I could be out on a 12 mile run day and not feel bored the entire time. I was confused. I really and truly wanted to enjoy biking, I wanted to pick the bike up and just love it right away. But I just couldn’t.
When I initially signed up for the Ride:Well trip I didn’t for a second think about the fact that I’d actually need to go out and buy an expensive road bike, yet alone start riding and training on the thing. I fell in love with Venture Expeditions as soon as I heard about them and what they’re all about. All that they are and what they stand for- I have always been drawn to this community and have always had the heart and compassion to help out in any way I could. And getting signed up and accepted on the Ride:Well tour was completely a God thing and something I hardly even thought through before I just did it, and I didn’t doubt for one second when I signed up. Even fundraising was so easy for me. This completely built up my faith even more and confirmed to me over and over again how much I knew this trip was a good fit for me! I couldn’t possibly be more excited at this point. Normally raising a few thousand dollars in just a couple months would seem nearly impossible to someone like me… but the funds all came in exactly when I needed them to (and I am so thankful for each and every person in my life that helped in any way that they could!!!), and I was able to raise all of my funds in time!
Well- I finally did get the actual bike and I think it was actually when I physically saw my bike that I looked at it and thought “Oh yes, guess I better start actaully riding this thing now…” Up until this point all of my energy, motivation and time had been going towards preparing myself financially and also spiritually- asking God to use our team and to prepare us to have the tools we needed to reach out to others to raise awareness and support, asking God to help us to do whatever we had to do and prepare us to be able to do whatever we could to help those in Africa in desperate need- fundraising like I never knew I could to raise every last penny- to partner with Blood:Water Mission– I didn’t allow any time or energy to actually think about physically preparing and training for this trip. But, at the same time I didn’t really think there needed to be much room to worry about the physical aspect of the trip, because “surely biking is a piece of cake… I’m in pretty good shape, it’ll be totally easy.”
No, biking is hard for me. Maybe it’ll get easier someday, but for now that isn’t really the case. The first few miles were easy, then time passed, and more time passed, felt sore in some areas, made some modifications and adjustments to help with the discomfort, then more discomfort would develop in different other areas, and this process seemed to continue and to be consistent for me. At the end of my rides I was just flat out exhausted in every which way. I kept asking myself “What is wrong with me? Why am I having a poor attitude?” And not only was training exhausting, it was very time consuming. Hours and hours out of my day, just to bike. At this point, I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. Running never was a “waste of time” for me, I was so confused why biking was so much different for me.
I even remember praying to God to just help me to enjoy biking… I was afraid that if I let this whole “biking is hard and not as enjoyable as I want it to be” get to me, than my excitement for the upcoming trip would go away. And not only was my attitude about biking getting worse, but the pains that had developed in my body were getting worse too. I had gotten to the point of dreading my daily rides. This was not how it was supposed to be. Whether long or short rides, the only goal getting me through the miles was thinking about what I would eat and how much food I would get to eat once we made it to our next destination. Bottom line: I let myself believe I didn’t enjoy biking at all, and it made me start to question a little bit why I felt like I was supposed to go on the trip to begin with then…
It really just slapped me in the face one day while we were on a ride and I was sad because I was in pain… biking/riding is not at all why I am doing this trip. God was subtly reminding me of my heart back when I first signed up for the tour. I was beyond excited and ecstatic when I signed up and joined the Venture community.
All the pain, the “bored-ness,” the lack of enjoyment of the sport- whether or not I enjoyed biking, whether or not I was good at biking, whether or not I had as much fun biking as I do with running, whether or not training was hard as hard could possibly be for me, and whether or not I was in some pain- this trip is not about me. This trip is not about my comfort, about my wants or needs.
More often than not we do the things that we love and those things alone. As humans we find our “nitches” in life, our passions, the things that drive us, and we run after those things- we usually just stay away from the things that we’re naturally not as good at, the things that are perhaps very hard for us.
God is continually reminding me that biking for this Ride:Well Tour, for Blood:Water Mission, it’s not for me. I’m doing it for them. I’m doing this trip for a cause- to help others- to raise support that is needed to help those in desperate need. I’m pushing through for them. I’m training and preparing for them. Often times we like to do things for others, but it always works out wonderfully when we can do the things that we love while we are helping others. But sometimes sacrificing for the sake of helping others isn’t always in the areas that we necessarily would decide ourselves. Sometimes we just gotta do it for them, and not worry so much about us.
And the funny and ironic thing is- as I’m training, hurting and enduring for them, I’m most definitely growing myself as well. I’m pushing and stretching my limits- and my passion and compassion is growing steadily.
I’m learning about me through the sacrificing of me for the needs of others who are facing injustice. That’s why I ride.
And that’s what it’s all about- I totally believe it. And I believe that is part of the heartbeat of Venture Expeditions and their mission. I could not be more excited to head out tomorrow morning on my tour. I may not be the best biker, I may not enjoy biking as much as the next guy, but my heart is growing and growing as I think about them, I am not bored as I am thinking about them while I ride, and I’m actually starting to enjoy biking more and more now that I’m figuring it all out and seeing it in a different light. It’s pretty incredible- training alone for this trip is changing me, I cannot even imagine how incredible of an experience we will have as a team as we get out there and bike together for a cause!
What I’ve learned over the course of training for this trip- I “bike for life”- not mine, but theirs.