It takes a conscious effort to self-evaluate. Honesty. Dedication. It means physically stopping. Mentally stopping, taking a deep breath, and opening up to the details that surround you. Looking in the mirror of truth. Reality. It’s not always easy. However, to have that concrete information. Knowing exactly where you stand, even though you are standing right there, is priceless. Looking back on old reflections, journals, photographs is even more rewarding. Maybe it’s chance to check yourself before you wreck yourself. Or it is a reminder of how far you have come, how much you have grown and it’s the momentum to carry you to the next big challenge. The wisdom to take on the challenge with confidence and grace.
I keep a bike journal. Not perfectly, but I have kept one since Gasparilla 2009 when Publix gave away an exercise log in the packet. I have a new journal. It’s got a fancy cover with a picture of a bike. It’s a mess, and there are plenty of places to catch up on the log. I said I would write about the ride after reflecting. So here is my reflection… looking back three years:
2009: Plus- I finished all 150, no bike/body problems, met so many new people, surprised my Mom and Dad
Delta- Forgot to eat first two hours of ride, didn’t hydrate enough, tried to take too much stuff, didn’t know how to shift, struggled in climbs, didn’t have a strong core at all, didn’t have lip protection/lip gloss (thanks Karen, for sharing)
2010 Plus- Trained at altitude in Colorado, got better at climbing, inspired by Mom, riding with familiar people, better nutrition and hydration, rode a great (borrowed) bike, rode with more experienced riders
Delta- Drove from CO to FL a week before ride, rode a borrowed, Men’s bike, overweight and climbs were hard, stopped too long at rest stops, rode above my pace too much, forgot my cell phone at hotel on Sunday, finished later than I wanted, too much salt
2011 Plus- Lost 13 pounds, trained wisely, worked on core on days off of the bike, climbed well, gave pulls, rode at MY pace when needed, not others, short rest stops, good nutrition and hydration, minimized distractions, didn’t have to drive :), new bike that FIT WELL
Delta-Lose 13 more pounds for next year, ride the 100 first day, better fundraising, don’t eat too much Saturday night, better pace line skills, new shorts.
Like I said, it was the “Best Ride of My Life… So Far.” I hope that next year is better. I hope my next ride is better. If there was one thing I could go back in time and do-over, it would be to have been a better mirror for my Mom to reflect in. I think I tried to help her, but my feedback was too harsh when she was beaten down by an illness. I wanted the best for her, we all did. I am still working to be a kinder mirror; to friends, to family, to coworkers. Honesty is a gift, but wrapping it the right way makes it more of a present.
Just for fun: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why they call it the present.” -Kung Fu Panda and Joe Madden (Tampa Bay Rays Coach)