Why does someone commit to ridding their mountain bike 4,350 km from Banff to Mexico? What compels someone to do that?
I still find the answer to this question still very hard to articulate, and if you would have asked me three months ago when I committed, I would have said the same thing.
As Geoff and I get closer and closer to that August departure date, this journey becomes more and more real. And with that comes loads of excitement and gratitude, as well as real fear and lingering doubt.
See how I prime my state to harness this excitement and gratitude in my blog post How I Boost And Maintain Energy With Priming.
Nothing Better Than Some Real Talk
If you know me personally, you know that I am a pretty optimistic dude. I am a firm believer that we control our state and have the power to accomplish anything we want. That does not negate the fact, however, that there are still lots of things in life that challenge me. And with those challenges, I often face both fear and doubt.
When I think of this ride, so many things might go wrong. We might get lost, we could run out of water, we could blast around a corner and surprise a grizzly bear, or even take a big fall. No matter how much I prime my state and tell myself that I got this, these are all very real possibilities that I choose to make peace with.
The fear is very real, and all a part of the process it is how we deal with it mentality that defines it efficacy.
I talk about my battles and triumphs with negative self talk in Silence The Negative Self Talk. Have a read, there are some gems in there.
What Doesn’t Kill Me Only Makes Me Stronger…
I am a firm believer that in life you “Feel The Fear And Do It Anyways”. No matter how challenging, scary, or uncomfortable something may be, lean in to your strength and persist.
Most of my growth in life has come from taking on challenges that scared me, or persisting through moments that made me cringe. I see so much value in these moments, that now I seek them out.
Shorten The Divide is just another test in my life’s curriculum. It is another challenge to see through, and another opportunity to learn new things. This trip is sure to highlight my weaknesses, and show me my many areas ready for improvement. In contrast it will showcase my strengths and hopefully the results of work I have put in.
This can be a very scary thing for people, especially ones that expect lots out of themselves. I am scared to see where I still need work, and I am scared to see what power I have now unlocked.
The Importance Of Chin Checks In Life
In life we all need chin checks. These are moments where we push pause and test ourselves and all the work we have been putting in. We spend so much time trying to better ourselves through fitness, diet, lifestyle and mindset, yet far too often, get complacent and stick to our routines. As adaptive creatures this hardly tests us at all. What was once tough, has now become the norm. And without the occasional “reality stir stick”, we do not learn and grow. This usually scary, and challenges our comfort, and that is totally the point.
Becoming Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable
3 months ago I didn’t even have a mountain bike. I agreed to ride 4,350 km from Banff, AB to Mexico without even having the vehicle to do so. All I had was the drive to do so, and the willingness to step into the unknown.
How I will accomplish this goal is still unknown to me, but I embrace the discomfort and lean in to the fear and start to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Over the last 3 months I got my hands on a beautiful bike, have learnt to ride (with the help of my amazing partner in crime), and put in the work to learn what I need to learn to accomplish something of this magnitude.
I have celebrated big wins, and tumbled down many losses, I have bashed my shins, and scraped my arms, I have ridden off the trail, plowed through snow, ridden through rivers and been schooled on the trails by men and women twice my age. To put it bluntly, I have been eating humble pie for 6 months and will continue to through August and September when we ride.
Meditation has been key in my ability to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. I break down how I got started in meditation in How To Start A Meditation Practice.
I Choose To Thrive In The Fear
Setting a goal of this size with a sport that is brand new to me is the ultimate test. We are still 3 months from the actual ride, and I have learnt more than I ever could have imagined since we announced it.
From embracing the fear and opening up to the vulnerability, to once again becoming a student in an unknown world I have learnt to put my ego aside, change my mental state, and say goodbye to all comfort. This is something that my routine would never have offered.
I have now realized how important it is to mix things up and dangle myself out there. I’m doing so I feel younger, more alive and excited than I have in years and the bountiful energy I feel in every area of my life is better than any drug in the world.
Without the fear, doubt and anxiety of commiting to something like this, none of this would have been possible. I can honestly say I am now thriving in the uncertainty.
Fear Is Now My Roadmap
When I am scared of something, I know I have to do it. When I get that unpleasant, flighty feeling in my stomach, it is always a sign of unfinished business. Following this has never led me astray.
The best part about accepting my fear, is now it is my too. And the subsequent excitement my fuel. This will not get me to the finish line, but it provides me with more than enough to take that first pedal stroke.
So What’s Next?
I step forward trusting in the process that has gotten me to this point and I embrace all the realities that comes with it. Yes I am pushing pause on my life, I am saying goodbye to consistent income, putting myself in danger, and very well might not finish, but not one of these factors will ever shake me.
I rely on taking one step after the other, trusting in myself and the world around me and having faith that this is about something bigger than me. No personal fear or doubt will ever stand in my way and that is why I choose to ride.
List Of My Fears
- Not finding a bag sponsor and having to use safeway bags
- Running out of water in the desert
- Cougars thinking my man bun is a ball of yarn
- Total bike meltdown
- Saddle sores
- Running out of Cortisone cream
- Ticks in my pubic region
- Applying cream to Geoff in our 1.5 man tent
- Having to eat Corn Nuts at gas stations
- Running out of TP
- Thick red mud in the desert
I find writing my fears down such a powerful tool. When I do so, I make them fun and entertaining. This keeps the lighthearted and challenges me to take them on with a smile. This is a powerful tool I have used for years.
What are you afraid of?