This year's ride was no less challenging and the first day can only be described as gruelling. It was 112 km, constantly uphill, with headwinds the whole way. In fact, at the end of the first day, I thought it would be so easy just to go home, I was having that big a crisis of confidence. After all, technically, people were still going to make the donation, whether or not I finished the ride. For my sponsors, it was supporting the charity and my efforts, not dependant on my completion of the ride.
For me, however, the ride was my goal. I wanted to make sure that I truly earned everyone's donation dollars and despite my trepidation, I got up for three more mornings and settled myself onto my bike to ride again. The first day, the driver of a sweep bus came by as I was trying to work out wretched leg cramps and offered me a ride back. The driver and another rider kept telling me it was okay to get in the car. It wasn't. Not for me at least. I wasn't giving up and I wasn't giving in. I came to ride the route and I did just that. Each year my goals are to finish each day, and not be the last rider in. So far, I have been able to keep that promise to myself.
I spoke previously about the power of a crowd. I rode with a group of people that would not let me give up. They waited just outside the finish line the first day so that we could all ride in together. They wouldn't let me settle for less in myself as we stayed as a group for the rest of the journey. I pushed myself harder over the last four days than I have pushed myself all year in every aspect of my life. I had the choice to rider slower and on one day, to do a shorter ride. I passed on both options.
If I can emphasize one thing, it is that if you don't push yourself and try to do something you thought impossible, you will never know whether or not you could have done it. I am ready to push harder now to better my company and make sure my clients get that same determination and results from me that the charity I rode for received.
Exhausted? Yes, but I feel that I have empowered myself and done good for others in the bargain.