Someday never happens

by Arlyn on January 3, 2009

In 2008, I learned a little secret about life. ‘Someday’ never happens. As in, “Someday I’d like to cyclotour the Tour de France.” Or, “Someday I want to win a bike race.”

Your someday’s always stay in the future, safe and secure where they can’t bother anyone. The dirty secret is that we know they will never happen which make it a little disingenuous to say, “Someday I want …”

If you really wanted it to happen, you’d do it, right?

I used to think that someday I’d like to be able to ride a century and contribute to a charitable cause. In 2007, I committed to riding my first century and raising $400 for the National MS Society. I had never ridden more than 30 miles before and was plumb tuckered out at mile 30 so this was a huge goal. I had also never asked anyone for a donation before. Double huge goal.

I was surprised by what happened. I trained and trained and was soon strong enough for the ride. And I talked about how important it was to support the fight against MS and soon had raised $3,790. I realized that by committing myself, I put myself on the path to achieving it. I had turned my someday into a reality.

Team Climb On! raises over $23,000 their first year!

Our families gave us a ton of support to ride the MS Bike Tour

In 2008, I converted another someday. I used to watch coverage of the Tour de France and thought someday it’d be really cool to watch the Tour in person and cycle the famous roads they raced. I converted that someday into reality by signing up for a cyclotour to follow the 2008 Tour de France from Alpe d’Huez to Paris. The trip I chose included a couple of century days, some with over 10,000 feet of climbing. I was going to climb the famous French Alpine cols I had only seen on TV.

I had no reason to believe that I could withstand the kind of cycling this trip would offer. I was terrified that I would get to France without the right fitness and have to “get in the van” or skip riding opportunities. This fear of failure drove me to train like I have never trained.

But again, by committing, I was on the path to achieving. Within a couple of weeks of signing up I bumped into a friendly English chap on the 56 bike trail who seemed very strong. He invited me to ride with him and his friends. I was initially scared to ride with them, but accepted anyways. That became my first ride with the Descenders. On that first ride, Voris invited me to join their annual Monster Climbs trip. 22,000 feet of climbing on 4 Sierra Nevada Mountains in 140 miles jammed into just 3 days. It was terrifying and also the perfect training for France. Monster Climbs was where I gained the confidence to climb for hours and trust in my ability to recover.

Preparing for Horseshoe Meadow

Horseshoe Meadow Road looms in the distance as the Descenders prepare for a 10,000+ foot day.

By early summer, I was taking on all sorts of endurance challenges. I could ride a century every week. My epic rides to Julian for pie gave me confidence in my ability to suffer and endure.

My training paid off and, faster than I could imagine, I was pedaling up Alpe d’Huez, with the Col du Galibier, Col du Telegraph and Col de la Croix de Fer on the next day’s agenda. It was a spectacular week of cycling, truly a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Arlyn on the Col du Galibier

That’s me on the Col du Galibier.

What’s for 2009? Well, the broad strokes are to keep the adventures alive by swinging for the fences. I’ve registered for my first USCF road race – and I’m scared out of my gourd that I’ll get dropped early. I can barely say, “I will win a bike race.” So I’m training intensely. I know I will love racing and I hope my fitness gets to where I can enjoy it from the pack at least.

I’ve also registered for the Leadville 100 mountain bike race in August and I’m confident that the stars will align and I’ll get accepted. I’ve registered for the Triple Bypass in July to get some high altitude training. And of course, there is Monster Climbs III in June with the Descenders.

I’m going to keep swinging for the fences. Somehow, it all works itself out.

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