I love cycling. I love how it gives me a sense of freedom; the wind blowing through my hair (or in my case, my helmet). It’s my drug of choice and therapy. I love the idea of challenging myself and then conquering that obstacle, but like any person, I sometimes doubt myself.
Recently, I did one of the toughest cycling races that brought me the closest to giving up that I’ve ever been. And although it wasn’t difficult on the technical side, mother nature had other plans. Any cyclist will tell you that headwind can be one of your biggest enemies.
The first 32 kilometres went great, but for the next 71 kilometres, it was us against the wind. No matter how many times we seemed to turn, the wind joined our journey head on. It was a constant struggle to keep your front wheel straight, which was exhausting – not only physically, but also mentally.
For the first time since I started doing cycling races, I stopped and told my husband that I couldn’t do it. He reassured me that everything was going to be okay and that I should do what feels right, but I had conflicting emotions. I don’t believe in giving up. In fact, I hate it! It’s not who I am, but the exhaustion was getting the better of me.
After a few minutes of that mental tug-of-war, I realised it was time to put my internal conflicts aside and make a decision. Resting for that few minutes, reminded me of how much I loathed not finishing anything I started and motivated me to push further. Did I enjoy the race? Not really. But am I glad I finished? Hell, yes! I was so happy when we finished, I wanted to get dressed as Wonder Woman and save the world (but only from the following day).
I have to remind myself that just because I took longer than others, doesn’t mean I’m a failure. Because I kept going, I proved to myself that I’m capable of so much more than I realise. And I am proud to say I finished the race despite the circumstances.
Even though I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason – but that we actually live in a broken world where we can’t control everything – it did remind me of how tough life can be and that sometimes you have no other choice than to push through the sucky times. Because without a doubt, you will come out stronger; transforming into your own kind of superhero.