Choosing to Face the Impossible

Henry Ford Quote

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.Alpe d'Huez switchbacks

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.

Alpe d'Huez Book Snippet 2
Snippet from Just a Girl and a Bike – The Book

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.

Alpe d'Huez Book Snippet 3
Snippet from Just a Girl and a Bike – The Book

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.

Want to read the full story? Find it here: Just a Girl and a Bike – The Book

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Cozy Cool Post Workout Gear

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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.

Blue T Cropped

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!

 

 

 

Break on Through to the Other Side

 

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I was completely numb.  My body was numb.  My mind was numb.  Everything was numb.

I could feel myself leaving my body.  It was as if I was looking down at myself, from outside of my physical being.  Everything was hazy.  There was no time.  There almost wasn’t any space…but not quite.  I still knew where I was, but only faintly.

I was drenched in heavy, sticky sweat.  I was so thirsty that I had stopped being thirsty.  All my beings had definitely melded into one.  There was no separation between physical, mental and spiritual.  I was just one single being, floating in the air, looking down at my physical representation and drifting in a weird, hazy existence.  I wondered if this is what Jim Morrison meant by breaking on through to the ‘other side’.

Continue reading “Break on Through to the Other Side”

A Hidden Gem: Crater Lake

lake-view

Crater Lake came into my life unexpectedly when a road trip spontaneously got extended.  With the gift of extra time, my husband James and I found ourselves in the lovely little town of Bend.  Our location, the fact that we had our bikes with us, and our love for craft beer all resulted in our stay in a place that we had never heard of, and quickly fell in love with.

Continue reading “A Hidden Gem: Crater Lake”

My Book Release – The Story of How I Learned to Reach for the Peak

It is official.  ‘Just a Girl and a Bike’ the book is now available.  This has been a long project as I made my way through a brand new journey as an Indie Self-Publishing authorThere were many times when I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing.  But it didn’t matter.  It was a learning experience.

Most importantly, I connected with many people along the way.  My goal was to inspire even one person with my words.  Based on the feedback on my blog posts, I believe I have already done this.  If even one person picks up my book and feels inspired, more positive, like they can accomplish something and maybe even face their fears, then I have succeeded.

The cherry on top of this wonderfully delicious sundae is that the whole project is a fundraiser.  My bike changed my life.  Thus, all of the proceeds of my books sales will go to World Bicycle Relief.  This amazing organization provides bikes to children in Africa who need transportation to get to school.  Instead of walking miles each way everyday, they can now ride.  Their chances at an education are greatly increased due to these bikes.

Some of these bikes are also given to healthcare workers to increase the number of places they can reach in one day.

So, if you have enjoyed my posts, please consider helping me out to change lives.

Details:

Books are $20 (CAN).  Choice of two covers.

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Order green mountain cover

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Order snowy mountain top cover

Peace and love!!!

Failure: What is Your Definition?

Sometimes things do not go as planned.  Sometimes what you set out to do or to accomplish doesn’t happen.  Life brings us many surprises.  Things that we cannot possibly anticipate tend to happen.  Just because you did not do exactly what you set out to, it doesn’t mean you failed.  There was a time that I thought failure meant that you didn’t do it how you had it in your mind.  Now, I believe that if you went out there and gave it what you had, then you have succeeded.

I like to ride my bike.  I like to climb mountains.  On more than one occasion, a mountain has entered my life, only to re-enter years later.  There have been times when I attempted a mountain, and did not make it to the top.  There have also been times when I have been close to or heard about a mountain, but it didn’t enter my life at that time.  These beauties had a way of coming back into my life that could not have been anticipated, and in which offered such a sweet, sweet ending.  If you consider sweat, fear, and tears a road to a sweet ending.

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I present to you Croix de Fere, a magnificent mountain the French Alps.  It has made multiple appearances in the Tour de France.  The first time I met this mountain, I was an extremely green, very beginner, ‘cyclist’.  I had really just learned to ride a road bike, if you could call what I was doing ‘riding’.  And there I was, brute forcing my way up this crazy climb.  That day, I simply bit off bite sized pieces and kept on pedaling, one small section at a time.

That day wasn’t the day that I would summit.  However, that day was the day that I realized I can do this!!  If I put my mind to it, I can climb magnificent French mountains!!!  Years later, with much more experience under my belt, I was lucky enough to have another wonderful encounter with this beautiful climb.  There are many details to be told, and which present a story for another day.  The point is, summit or no summit, there I was – doing something that I didn’t even know I could do.  And both times, there was absolutely no denying the absolute beauty of my surroundings.  As challenging as it was, I was lost in the harmonious feeling of being one with the earth.  I felt like a tiny, insignificant dot on this breathtaking road, engulfed in mountainous magnificence.

Thus, as you go forth at the beginning of this New Year…how will you define failure?  And what will you set your heart on doing?

Croix de Fer Info Page

Just Me and My Bike

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My story is simple.  I was the MOST unathletic person in the world!!!  When it came to my ‘physical being’, I was uncomfortable in my own skin, and at times very anxious.  I preferred to be a wallflower and to hide from any real adventure.

Shortly after I married my best friend, James, he bought me my first real road bike.  I had no idea that I had just started not one, but two, life long relationships.

Less than six months later I found myself at the base of Alpe d’Huez, a mountain in the French Alps well known for its appearances in the Tour de France.  Completely overwhelmed, and wondering how the hell I was going to make it to the summit where our hotel was, this would be an absolutely life changing day.  It was also the start of a journey, which I am still on.

Continue reading “Just Me and My Bike”