So I did something crazy…
I signed up for the 947 Cycle Challenge – a road cycle race that takes place in Johannesburg during the month of November with a distance of 94.7 km. And as excited as I am to take on this new challenge; I had zero kilometers racked up, no training – oh and did I mention…no bicycle.
Yep, a great start I would say 😂. Being the type of person that I am; with the desire to continuously challenge myself and push my limits, I started training immediately on the Watt Bike at the gym and renting out bicycles – seeing that I didn’t actually own a bike.
A few months later (with the help of my incredible friends), I managed to get a decent entry level mountain bike from an auction and a couple of cycling accessories, and before you know it I was riding in my first ever cycle race, the aQuellé Tour Durban 2017.
Don’t let anyone tell you that your first cycle (with very little training), is a walk in the park. It may have only been the 45 km “Fun ride,” but the heat and humidity of Durban (at a 09h45 start time), coupled with a ridiculous never ending uphill climb onto the highway, made me realise that I needed a whole lot more training before the big race in November.
Either way, I lived to tell the tale and I learnt a lot from my first ride, but the following two facts proved the most valuable.
The power of your mind.
As I slowly trekked up my very first steep uphill, I felt my legs giving up and getting lazy. A huge number of riders had already climbed off their bikes and were pushing them up the never ending hill. I nearly followed suit, but my mind wouldn’t let me give up. I wanted to cry, I even said; “I can’t do it” a few times out loud, followed by a couple of descriptive swear words 😂 (insert them here) – but I carried on motivating myself to push on… keep going… and I did it. I got up that painful bleep of a hill and kept going.
The importance of a good riding partner.
I never thought that this would have been paramount to my ride, but it really was. As someone who feels comfortable running both road and trail, I prefer to run alone at my own pace – challenging myself. But cycling felt different. I needed that support, the “you can do it” and “almost there.” I needed the “you are doing great” and just the feeling of finishing as a team. Having someone else train with you, compete with you and celebrate victories with you, makes it even more worth it. I could not imagine training alone for the big race in November! Thank you D!
Of course I learnt a whole lot more related to the technical/physical side, such as the best gears to be in at certain points of the ride; when and how to stretch and “break;” and (don’t laugh) how to let go of my handlebar and grab my water 😂 (sounds hilarious, but I honestly didn’t have the confidence to). But all in all, I proved to myself that no matter the situation, if you want something bad enough, you will go out and get it! 💪
So, I really hope that reading this post helps motivate you to try something new or something completely out of your comfort zone, even if you decide that it’s not for you. Your mind is stronger than you think, but you will only have the chance to experience this incredible mind power by pushing yourself to a point you never thought possible.