I love the look on my face in this picture. It really sums up my entire experience when I weight trained ‘for real’. This wasn’t something I was planning on getting into, and it isn’t something that I have done over the years. It just happened. And it was an amazing experience in body, mind and soul. Really.
It all started when I needed a place to shower so that I could ride my bike to work. I found the gym that was closest to my office building, and walked in to inquire about membership.
An unexpected opportunity presented itself. There was a package that I could buy that included some personal training sessions. Something inside tugged at me to sign up. So I did. I didn’t think about it again until the winter months presented themselves. I had been working out on my own during lunch hour, and was quickly getting bored. I was really keen to stay in shape through the winter months so I could enjoy the short cycling season when it finally came again.
We didn’t know it yet, but, we were nearing the end of a several month adventure. We had left home with hefty backpacks, planning to chase the pro cycling circuit. We had seen a lot of cycling races, done a lot of our own riding, and had also found many other adventures along the way. Coming off of the high of accomplishing some big things in my own cycling journey, I think I was in complete belief that I was the bionic woman!!!
Henry nailed it on the head. You can, literally, talk yourself into or out of anything. It is up to you. I could not have had any more of a lesson on this than the day that I found myself at the bottom of a famous mountain, broken, terrified, and in tears.
Alpe d’Huez is a very famous mountain that has made many appearances in the Tour de France. Composed of a series of 21 switchbacks winding their way up from the valley to the peak, this mountain is not something to take lightly.
When I showed up at Alpe d’Huez, I was not an experienced cyclist, I was not an athlete, I was not in the type of physical condition that one should be to ascend such a monstrous beast.
I had a choice. I could not even try. I could simply give up and declare that I needed to find a way to get back up to the top of the mountain without using my own two feet. Or, I could try. I had travelled all that way. I was at the base of a very famous mountain. I did not know if I would ever be back there. Crying is great – it relieves a lot of tension. Allowing myself to completely break down, be honest about my fear, and to fully take stock of my situation, took me to the conclusion that there was only one option. I had to try. By choosing to face my fear, I found a mental resilience that I didn’t know was there.
I was willing my body up the side of the of mountain, one stretch at a time. Any progress I made was a result of mind over matter. Logically, I should not have been able to ascend. There is nothing logical about will power…it allows you to will yourself to do what seems impossible. When you completely decide to do something, when you choose to believe that you will, is when you really put things into motion.
My journey was nothing as smooth or graceful as the one shown here, by the famous Pantani who holds the record. My journey was one of struggle, brute force, and putting one foot in front of the other. I made my own valiant attempt, in my own way. It wasn’t pretty, but it was one that I will never forget, and one that changed me forever. The day that I chose to climb a mountain, I chose pain, I chose to suffer, and I chose to find my inner strength.
Check out my Alpe d’Huez climb page for more details about the cycling route, where to stay, and my personal experience with this amazing mountain.
Post workout, I love to cozy up in something comfortable and warm. I recently had the opportunity to try out this super cool hoodie from Cycling Ink. It is definitely warm, and it is definitely cozy. The inside is super soft. And for those fellow cyclists out there, the logo is perfect for making sure the world knows that you ride bikes.
If my workout was a good one and I pushed hard, I might need a bit of time to cool down before transitioning to the warmer gear. If I am smart, I will also take some time to stretch. For this transition, I would choose something lighter. I like something with a little room so I can move around and stretch. Check out this super fun tank, also from Cycling Ink.
Check it out!! With plenty of styles, colors and variations of the logo…there is something for everyone!!! Tell the world you are a cyclist…make sure they know that you spent hours upon hours training inside on your bike just so you could be super fast when the weather changes!
I met Vern in an office environment. We were both in the same role, sat close together, and had the habit of arriving early. Thus, we quickly got to know a little about each other.
Vern was immediately a very interesting person to me. It quickly became apparent that he was a ‘no nonsense’, get the job done, kind of guy. I soon learned that Vern had some very interesting life passions. One of them being to summit mountains on a regular basis. When I first learned of this, I was instantly fascinated.
I have had the amazing opportunity to summit a variety of peaks on my bike. Vern was a man who summited monstrous beasts by climbing with his hands and feet. Continue reading “Mountain Man”→
My friend had invited me to join her at an exercise class that she raved about. It was a choreographed class, which I didn’t often go to, however, she had convinced me that I didn’t need any specific experience. She also told me I would have fun and I would get in a great workout. Sounded peachy. So off we went.
The minute the instructor, Amber, entered the room, the energy level was raised about a million notches! In she came, or rather, in she bounced, whooping, smiling, and convincing us that yes we can!!! I thought to myself, wow, this woman is ripped!! Within seconds I was PUMPED! I was ready – for what I didn’t know – but I was ready. Off we went.
I walked through the door and was instantly enthralled with the energy. The room was buzzing with excitement, and bursting with positivity. I didn’t know anyone, except the hostess for this most amazing event. I waited in line, and as I approached the ticket booth to enter, I saw her. I hadn’t seen Jessica since the first time we met, only about a month ago. She was smiling from ear to ear, full of love and sincere appreciation for every person in attendance. She greeted every single person with genuine warmth. I melted into the hug that she so willingly thrust upon me. I was so glad I had come.