Saturday afternoon, driving with my son, we passed numerous cyclists riding this popular route - the Ketch Harbour loop being a 40 km ride round trip. I began to reminisce all the rides I took on my bike. In high school riding my bike every morning as I delivered newspapers and on weekends, I would ride out to York Redoubt or all the way to Crystal Crescent beach and then back home a few hours later. The beach trip being a 28 Km ride one way.
The next morning I woke up, went through the routine and thought, "I'm going to ride the loop." I got my gear on, and brought out my mountain bike. Not the ideal machine for a distance ride, but when I was younger we only had 10 speeds so how bad could it be. My second challenge was the pedals. This bike was a gift and with it came clipless pedals and bike shoes. My last bike adventure, over a year earlier involved not releasing the pedal quickly enough and avery pronounced purple and yellow bruise on my left upper leg. Despite my best efforts, I could only manage to change one pedal. Surely the Gods are against me! But I have a very tenacious spirit that doesn't give in. I set off with one clipless pedal and one platform pedal.
It was hard.
I was scared. Cars racing past you at 80 clicks seems super fast.
At one point I was just thinking one foot, then the other to stop the terrible story that just kept rolling through my mind. The story that told me I would need to be rescued. The story that wanted me to give up. The story that ended with, "you are too old for this." The story that my ego (AHAMKARA) resisted and that created my suffering.
I arrived home two and a half hours later, feeling nauseous and sweaty. I did it! My butt really hurt.
More importantly, I saw something I hadn't realized before. At some point in the 30 years between these rides, I stopped just doing things and started wondering and answering to the question of whether I could or should.
When are you asking yourself whether it is wise to try something and when are you just trying it?
I don't mean to suggest we should throw caution to the wind. Even in this situation better preparation would have been an asset. But what if I had listened to that voice and not tried at all or given up? How would I feel now if I gave into the thought, "I'm too old, I should give up."