This week has been a little difficult for me. If something could have gone wrong, it has…and then some. The weather has been beautiful. I have been enjoying the sunshine. And there have been good moments. When I think about it, more good moments than bad. But the bad ones are staying with me longer than they usually do.
Uphill battles are what I seem to be fighting. Literally and figuratively.
The literal uphill battle, I’ve been training for a 100 mile bike ride. Or, in my new-found cyclist lingo, a century ride. All 100 miles will be completed in 1 day. Yes, ONE.DAY! That’s a big challenge for me. I am doing this as a fundraiser for JDRF (www.jdrf.org). As part of the commitment to joining JDRF Ride to Cure, I agreed to ride 100 miles in 1 day and raise $3000 for diabetes research. I’m doing pretty well on the fundraising. And the training is coming along. I was feeling more confident last week. Then I decided to add a few hills to my training. Hills are killer. Literally…I thought I was going to die on one of them. Going uphill is hard. On your legs. On your lungs. On your mind. But I didn’t give up. Well, on one hill I did…but I couldn’t breathe and I wanted to live, so I walked half way up. Come to think of it, I probably increased my speed by walking. I was going that slow.
Even after a few days of hill training, they weren’t getting any easier. And I was getting discouraged. And then I had a mishap with my tire. A mishap that only I could have. There are things in this life that really can only happen to me…because the rest of the world is more coordinated or fortunate or something.
I wasn’t particularly excited about going out on a training ride that night. But I talked myself into a 5 mile ride, nonetheless. So, as a good cyclist (or so I learned from my coach) does, I checked my air pressure in my tires before the ride. Back tire was a little low. It was hot and humid, and a batch of about 1 million mosquitos were swarming my body as I was doing this. I grabbed my air pump and pumped up my tire…all the while cursing the nasty little insects. As I took the air hose off my tire, I heard a ping, heard a gush of air, and watched as ALL the air left my back tire. At the same time, I noticed blood dripping from my thumb, and a huge mosquito biting me on the forehead. Turns out, my valve stem broke. No air in the tire = no ride for me.
After cursing a blue streak, putting my bike away and deciding that I was better off staying home, I went in the house and tended to my cut thumb. While scratching my lovely mosquito bite on my head. A few deep breaths and some meditation later, I tried to turn the karma of the night to a positive one. So, I did 50 minutes of cardio. Don’t want to let my increased aerobic level slide backward.
I also sent a text to my riding coach. I live about 2 hours away from our training team and travel about once a week for training rides with the group. My coach is incredibly patient, talented and understanding. And he’s getting used to me, too. He told me I needed to change the tube in my tire and all would be good. He gave me a lesson in tube changing about 6 weeks ago. He really made it look easy.
So, last night, I screwed up my courage and decided I could do it. Turns out, it’s only easy if you’re a professional. My son is riding with me, and he had the same lesson. We were both stumped. And, remember those mosquitos? Well all 1 million of them had about 16 babies. And they were hungry. After a few frustrated and panicked texts to the coach, he called me. He really is awesome. His advice helped. But it was time to get Meredith to her little league game. We were only 5 minutes late for arrival when we left the house.
After the game (she got a double and scored!!), I thought, I am smarter than this tire. So I decided to give it a go again. This time inside my house. There were less mosquitos. In my clueless fumblings, I ended up poking a hole in the new tube. So, the Queen of Loserville does not have a back tire on her bike. And, for some reason, I was as deflated as my tire.
What was I thinking? Riding 100 miles in a day? Raising money for a cure? It all seems so hard and so far away and that my efforts aren’t amounting to anything. So, maybe I should just give up. That would be easier and right then I was not in for anything hard. To avoid having a full-out pity party and crying like a baby in front of my kids, I decided to take a shower. In the shower, I came to a revelation.
It’s just a bike tire.
That’s it. It’s just a bike tire. And in the grand scheme of things, that’s pretty minor. I am more than that bike tire. I will not be defined by my inability to change a tube in a bike tire. I will ride 100 miles in a day. I will make up for the lost training days. I will help find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes. And I will climb those hills. Literally and figuratively.
Because I am
If you would like to support our efforts, the links to our fundraising pages follow.