The fierce climbs of the first few days of Ride The Rockies prove that there is only “do” or “don’t,” there is no “try.” I saw that phrase spray-painted while pushing up Independence Pass yesterday, and for the rest of the ride, that’s all I could think about.
When we say we are going to “try” to do something, we set ourselves up for failure. It’s like that other saying, “whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.” When we even consider the idea of failure or giving up, we let that sink into our bones, our muscles, and most importantly, our minds. That idea of giving up pervades our thoughts and creeps in like the little bits of dirt in our gears. Eventually, without clearing out that gunk, it’s going to ruin our ride.
All the climbing does wear on you, but we all knew what we were getting ourselves into by signing up for Ride The Rockies. But it isn’t just the physical training that prepares us for this ass-kicking mountain climbs. It’s mostly mental. You have to believe you can do this. You have to believe you’re strong.
As a female cyclist, I realize I’m part of the minority. Generally, more men participate in cycling events and races. Taking on Ride The Rockies is an intimidating endeavor. I’m used to doubting myself and second-guessing my actions. Of course, there will be the men who can’t muster out an “On your left” and they ride by. There are the ones who watch you zoom past and silently suck on your wheel from Freemont Pass to Tennessee Pass. There are the ones who call you “girl” because they don’t know a better term for a strong, badass woman.
Beyond the bull that comes with riding, I always remember I am strong. I remind myself anytime I start to forget. I repeat “I am strong” over and over again until my body and my heart believes it. I say the words out loud when my legs are screaming up ridiculous climbs.
These six days are all about doing. It’s not a question of whether I can or can’t ride my bike, it’s a matter of how happy I am when I’m doing it. Watching the beautiful landscapes pass by me, telling my bike, Thunder, “thank you,” for his hard work, and appreciating Mother Nature for the tailwinds. I refuse to “try.” I only “do.”