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

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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”

My Book

 

It has been a long journey…

13 years ago, I met my bike.  Up to the point of this pivotal meeting I was the least athletic person in the world!!! I had no belief in my physical being.  At times, I was completely uncomfortable in my own skin.  I would experience a lot of anxiety in many situations, and simply wished I could blend into the wall.

My bike changed me life.  It helped me to find a strong, capable physical side to my being that I never knew existed.  It took me on adventures to new worlds and cultures.  It took me deep into nature where I could connect with earth in a way I had never experienced. It introduced me to new friendships that would have otherwise been undiscovered.  It took me to a place where my mind, body and soul melded into one and worked together to get me to the tops of mountains one pedal stroke at a time.

How a girl with no connection to her physical being could cycle to the tops of mountains belonging to the Tour de France pros I will never totally comprehend.  All I know is that I get out there and I find a freedom that I never knew.

What is your passion?  What do you long to do but are terrified to try?

Today IS that day that you take the first step.

IF I can do it, SO CAN YOU !!!

Just a Girl and a Bike – the book

The Essence of the Mountain Pouring Into My Soul

As I took the first pedal stroke, I looked up at the mountain before me.  As I began to roll, I took in a deep breathe of fresh mountain air.  As I began to ascend, my whole being was present.  I was there, just me and my bike, becoming one with the mountain.  I felt so open, so free.  I thought to myself, this is it, this is the true essence of cycling for me.  This is why I fell in love with riding.

The beauty surrounding me was indescribable.  The sky was true blue and the sun shone down warming everything.  My eye caught the occasional chipmunk bouncing about and chirping away.  The trees were an array of vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows.  The mountain opened up before me, grand and snow capped.

My being was in pure heaven.  The purity of the moment filled my heart.

This was it.  This was the true essence of cycling for me.  This was why I fell in love with riding.

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Source: summer.banffnorquay.com

 

There is something so pure about just being out there, me, my bike, and nature.  I see so much, hear so much, and feel so much.

I was only going to be riding in short bursts today.  But, even these short bursts of cycling made me reflect and realize how long my journey has been.  It started with fear and anxiety and evolved into feeling more free than I could ever imagine.  A journey that started with my husband and the road bike that he bought for me shortly after our wedding.  A journey that really got going on a French mountain known as Alpe d’Huez.  A journey that has no end as it has now become a life long path.

So there I was, on the side of this lovely mountain, pedalling away and falling in love all over again.  What timing to be taken back to a place that completely reminded me of why I picked up a bike and started pedaling, why I made my way up that first peak, and why I just keep on pedalling no matter what.

A bike can take you to some amazing places – physically, mentally and spiritually.  A bike can become a friend, and a part of a life long journey.

 

Powerful, Intelligent and Strong: Stacey

My secret identity is … yes … I am actually an IT geek.  I know that my writing is all about my bike, my adventures, and my journey.  But, before I started cycling and spending time in the mountains, I was a computer scientist.  This is how I met Stacey.  Stacey is the brilliant leader of the security team at one of the companies that I contracted for.  She was one of my key stakeholders on multiple projects, and thus, I quickly got to know her as an IT professional.  Always strategic, mindful, and very professional, she was one stakeholder that I definitely enjoyed working with.

During our time as work colleagues, I got a glimpse into the many sides of Stacey.  The more I learned, the more I wanted to know.  I quickly came to realize that Stacey is quite the endurance athlete.  I barely had time to train for one sport.  I didn’t know how she balanced a full time professional career, training for three sports, and a family!!!  Yes, it did appear to me that Stacey was some sort of superwoman who did it all.  Yet, when I asked her if she would have time for a coffee as I was wanting to learn more about how she kept her immune system strong, she didn’t hesitate to say yes.

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Continue reading “Powerful, Intelligent and Strong: Stacey”

Learning to Ride a Road Bike – An Adventure in Hitting the Ground

I have been road cycling for 13 years now.  It has been an incredible journey.  My bike has literally changed my life.

Before I met my bike (my beloved Trek 2000), I was the most unathletic person ever!!!  I wouldn’t have believed for a second that I was one day going to be riding a fast bike on highways and up to the tops of mountains.  I was completely uncomfortable with my physical being, and afraid of adventure.

Right after I married my husband, James, he bought us road bikes.  It had been a passion of his in his younger years, and he was keen to re-immerse himself.  I really had absolutely no idea what I was getting into.

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Continue reading “Learning to Ride a Road Bike – An Adventure in Hitting the Ground”

The Influence of Cycling – Jonathan Deguzman

My feature series on those who have inspired me on my journey continues and stays strong.  In my last post, I introduced you to an amazing rider who supported me and helped my confidence to grow, Dehnis B Delacruz.  Today’s post is a follow up to share some of the amazing work that Dehnis is doing in the cycling community.

Take a few minutes and watch the documentary that Dehnis created on an amazing cyclist, Jonathan Deguzman.  I have never met Jonathan, but when I watched this I felt like I knew him.  I was so touched by his genuine responses, and how he conveyed that regardless of the level or ability, we all come to cycling for very similar reasons.  Jonathan was so authentic in his responses, and Dehnis’ work in capturing this was absolutely brilliant.

Thanks to Jonathan for sharing his journey, and to Dehnis for seeing this opportunity and putting in the work to capture it!

 

 

This documentary can also be found here: The Influence of Cycling – Jonathan Deguzman

{If you enjoyed reading this, you can read more posts or follow me at Just a Girl and a Bike}

 

 

A Smooth Riding Companion: Dehnis B DelaCruz

{My feature series on those who have inspired me on my journey continues and stays strong.  Today I introduce you to an amazing rider who supported me and helped my confidence to grow.  If you are curious, be sure to check out this Slowburn post.}

The alarm starting beeping way too early, but out of bed I leaped.  I was pumped.  I had been waiting all week for this.  This morning, I would be joining my beloved Slowburn group once again after many years.

The feat would not be easy.  We would be doing the famous Great Western Loop – A.K.A. GWL.  This ride would see us climb almost 1200 metres and cover nearly 70 km.  The climbing starts almost immediately, and most of it is accomplished in the first 2/3 of the ride.  So,  you literally feel like you are climbing, climbing, climbing…

As the group began to gather, a felt a twinge of excitement edged with a bit of nervousness.  No matter how many rides I completed, I just never knew exactly how I would feel until I started pedaling.  So many things can happen in cycling, so you just never really know what a ride is going to be like.  It seemed like it wasn’t that long ago that I couldn’t even fathom riding a road bike, never mind take on the ride that I was about to embark on.

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Me, Matt Tabaya to my right, Dennis Caco and James Hiner up front.  Dehnis was behind us, and took this beautiful photo.

 

Continue reading “A Smooth Riding Companion: Dehnis B DelaCruz”

Quote Challenge Day 1: Face Your Fear

Thank you to Natalie from But Why for nominating me for this wonderful quote challenge.

“You call yourself a free spirit, a ‘wild thing’, and you’re terrified somebody’s gonna stick you in a cage’.

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I love this quote.  I love it for many reasons.  I love this quote because it so accurately captures the essence of Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  She is a young woman, living alone in New York City, putting on a brave face as she struggles to look after herself, let alone the cat that she has taken in.  The cat’s name is Cat to symbolize her belief that we as people do not own each other or other living beings.  She displays a fierce attitude of independence, yet, she is terrified and barely making it.  Her biggest fear is depending on someone else.  Fred Baby, her only real friend and the man that she is falling for, bravely looks her in the eyes and tells her the truth.

I also love this quote because I think that many people can interpret it through their own eyes and within the context of their own lives.

It reminds me so completely of my own fear.  I want more than anything to get on my bike and climb another mountain.  Before a climb day, I am full of fire and complete confidence.  When I get to the mountain, and look up at the monstrous beast staring me down, my true fear seeps from my pores, and I am reminded of how insignificant I am.  Yet, I refuse to be caged inside.  I would rather face my fear of what can happen on that mountainside than stay home.

Check out Natalie’s insightful quotes starting with Natalie’s Quote Challenge Day 1.

I now nominate Anthony from Today’s Perfect Moment and Paul from Life Changes.

The rules: Post three quotes across three different days, link to my blog, and nominate two new folks, if you choose to do so.

 

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