The entire focus of my training during the last 3564 miles has been the CRMBT – short for the Colorado Rocky Mountain Bike Tour. It begins on Sunday morning: 438 miles and 40K of climbing. They advertise the tour for advanced riders. Fact is, I get butterflies if I stop and think about this ride for more than a few seconds. To call this ride ambitious is an understatement.
Without realizing what I was getting myself into I signed up the first time three years ago, and have been delighted ever after to say I lived to tell about it. It was overwhelmingly THE MOST intense week of riding in my life. There was a marked attrition of riders as the week unfolded – not to mention a close call I had with another rider who rolled out into the middle of a of a fast descent without looking uphill. Three years later I have a lot of respect for what’s coming my way.
My preparation began in February with my coach Jordan [a pretty darn successful time trial specialist]. I started three months of power-building intervals on the indoor bike. [a euphemism for many hours of really unpleasant workouts] I gained close to 50 watts by the time we could start riding outside, and continued building with another four one week self-imposed training camps. I finished the Habitat 500 charity ride with some highly appreciated feedback from riders whom I respect as athletes. Bottom line: if I’m not ready now, I never will be.
So I’m going into this ride feeling strong and relaxed. On a ride two days ago I PR’d [personal record] all the Strava segments without really trying. I’m enjoying the taper: its been a good time of rest and regrouping. But what comes next will be a new story of adventure and adversity…very little of it within my control.
I have believed for quite some time that I find out more about God and myself during these kinds of rides. There’s nothing like discomfort and suffering to make me open to surrendering a bit of control. It’s a faith lesson that causes me to look outside myself for strength and inspiration. I often take strength for granted, but what about inspiration? For me its not just about watts, but also the soul of riding.
Riding in faith, hope and love brings soul. Soul makes the miles breathe – taking them beyond just physical effort or the mechanics of riding. Soulfulness comes as I do what I do: mindful that this is God’s special gift to me. Nothing random…all very personal. No one ever explained this to me, but its been revealed by my Heavenly Father as the miles go by.
That’s all I’m going to say for now. I’ll continue the conversation in daily blog posts as the ride unfolds.