In one of our previous conversations, I mentioned one of more recent goals, to do a 67mi bike ride on my 67th birthday.
To some this may sound like too lofty a goal, and I have to admit, I began thinking that I may have bit off more than I could chew.
But I knew I had to try…
Some of my friends said that I was nuts…crazy even, one even accused me of being an adrenaline junky by pushing myself to the limit.
Well, maybe they’re right, but I like proving that us Baby Boomers are still viable butt kickers who can do whatever we put our mind to.
I’ve said it before, but everyone needs to have a goal.
A goal that is attainable but not easy, you shouldn’t be looking for a cake walk. There is an incredible level of satisfaction that comes from working hard to hit a goal, achieving it and being able to say, “Wow… I did it!”, because if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times…
It’s not the destination that’s important… it’s the journey.
Keeping that little mantra in mind, it was time for me to get down to work, so I hit the road, increasing the distance I was biking every week or when I felt ready for an increase.
Some days I would do sprints (that’s shorter distances but at a higher pace) and some days I would do a long steady paced ride.
Things were going well, I had a great training regimen going, I was eating properly for all of the training I was doing and getting enough rest, but then “it” happened.
Through the summer months I was scheduled to work a few extra days and shifts… that could turn and 8 hour day into a 12 hour marathon of police work.
When you work six days a week, 3 P.M. to 3 A.M., you really don’t have much time (or energy) for training.
Needless to say my training schedule suffered greatly.
But I’m not a quitter, and I tried to ride as often as possible, even on those days that I really didn’t feel like doing it, but if I was going to reach my goal it was something I had to do.
I trained as often as possible and I never gave up, but then that thought started to creep in,
“What if you can’t do it Doc, what if you don’t reach this goal?”
But I knew that I always have Rosemary and the rest of the family in my corner, so any effort I put out would be met with support and caring.
I prepared the best I could, so the night before my birthday, I made as many of the necessary preparations that I could and settled down to good nights sleep.
When I woke up, I was greeted by a bit of Florida’s warm weather, grabbed some breakfast and then got down to the task at hand.
It was a great day for biking, and 25 miles in I had absolutely no problems, I would almost say that they were easy.
But then, somewhere around the 30 mile mark my left leg started cramping up, so I slowed my pace to take the load off my thighs so the cramps would work themselves out and forged ahead.
It was at about the time I hit 45 miles that both legs started cramping, so I got off the bike and walked about 50yds and that seemed to solve the problem.
It was also at this point that the lessons I learned in jiu jitsu training kicked in, so I focused on relaxing and breathing and I actually found myself smiling.
Compared to those long training sessions on the mat, this bike ride really was a cake walk!
With 22 miles to go I hopped back on the bike and looked to finish what I started.
And though I cramped up 2 more times before I pulled into my driveway, I really had to admit that it was a beautiful, fantastic ride… and when the moment my feet hit the asphalt for the last time, I knew I achieved something special.
I estimated the ride would take 41/2 to 5hrs and I did it in 5hrs 15min, but I was happy with the results because…
I did it!
Another task checked off of the ol’ bucket list.
Never, ever say “I’m too old” or “I can’t”… because you’re not and you can.