If I wore boots while riding, I’d be shaking in those, too. I had a bit of a panic attack yesterday. I know the Death Valley Ride is less than a month away. I’ve been really excited about it — both the ride and seeing all of my friends. But yesterday, reality hit me and I freaked out a bit. Everything that could go wrong with this ride crossed my mind, old fears and new fears alike…
- I have an old bicycle. What if it can’t make the ride? What if it breaks or falls apart mid-ride?
- What if I’m not ready? What if I haven’t trained hard enough or ridden far enough?
- What if I can’t make it up Jubilee Pass? Seriously, what if I can’t make it up the big hill?
- What if I hurt myself before Oct. 20. I’m doing a Warrior Dash next weekend — what if I break my arm like my mom did?
- What if I’m the last person to finish? What if I can’t actually ride 105 miles?
- What if they close the ride route before I make it back? I’m slow; this is a real possibility.
But then I took a deep breath, and I went for a ride next to fields and fields of cotton. For some reason, cotton fields bring me incredible peace and solace. I have no idea why, but riding alongside fields of puffy, white, blooming cotton makes my heart happy. (Too bad there aren’t cotton fields in the desert). Riding between the two fields a few miles from my house, I remembered I’m not in control. Not of this ride, nor of whether cotton blooms. I can do everything on my end to ensure success, but then I have to wait and see. It’s the same with riding.
If my bicycle breaks, I can’t help that. I’ve taken all the necessary steps to keep it in great shape, so there’s no use in worrying about something I can’t help. I have trained, and I have trained hard. Yes, I could’ve done better — we can always do better — but I had a plan, and I stuck to it. On days I couldn’t ride, I forced myself onto my trainer or the stationery bike at work. I’ve worked hard, and I will be ready. If I can’t make it up the big hill, I will walk. Either way, I’ll get to the top. Worrying about hurting myself at Warrior Dash is like worrying about my bike breaking. I can’t do much about it, so I’m going to enjoy the day getting muddy with my friends. (And yes, I’ll post photos from Warrior Dash). Does it really matter if I’m the last one to pedal across the finish line in Death Valley? No. It only matters that I finish, regardless of how that looks. And if they close the route before I make it back, I’ll ride in the dark desert. OK, not really ’cause I’m a scaredy cat, but I will finish alone even if everyone else is showered and ready for dinner. But I have a feeling at least a couple of people will hang around and wait for me.
I can’t panic. Not now. I’m too close, and I’ve worked too hard. Every time it hurts, I’ll remind myself to “just keep pedaling.” And when I think I should stop, I’ll channel my inner Scott and make it to the next
tree cactus. Then to the next boulder. Then to the next rest stop. And eventually, that will turn into the finish line. I have to stop worrying about the unknown. I’m prepared physically so now it’s time to prepare mentally. But yeah, I’m still scared — shaking in my sneakers scared.