We left Friday Harbour on a ferry and headed to Orcas Island. We didn’t have confirmation of a place to stay that night. We had contacted one of the few places that may have some vacancy, so we took a chance. When we arrived, we drove the peaceful, quiet road, easily sinking into the slow pace of everything and everyone around us. We found the one small ‘main town’ and a lovely breakfast. How delightful!! The food was tremendous, the view was spectacular, and who knew what the day held? After our adventures in escaping from the blazing fires in Oregon (Burning Eyes of Fire) we were definitely ready to turn over a new page on our road trip!
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.
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”→
It is official. ‘Just a Girl and a Bike’ the bookis now available. This has been a long project as I made my way through a brand new journey as an Indie Self-Publishing author. There 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 saleswill 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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.