Conquer: to successfully overcome, to climb ( a mountain successfully).
I had just returned recently from one of my long rides out on the bike when I got a message from my daughter in law. Actually, it was a photo of my new granddaughter, wrapped snuggly in a towel after her bath.
Her big eyes wide open and alert, her tiny nose peeking through, she looked quite content and comfy.
After responding with the usual… ” eek I love her, she’s so cute”… I tell her that’s what I need…
I’m in desperate need of it as I’m now sweat dried and dirty from the road. I told her I had finished up 32 miles to which I get this response…
“you crazy woman!” ( this is a high compliment indeed haha)
It was followed by… “I’m so proud of you for conquering the bike while you can’t run!”
I really don’t think she knew how much those words meant to me.
I had certainly been on a bike in the previous year, but it was a cheap little bike I had picked up from the local Wal-mart and certainly not designed for the things I had been doing to it. I thought the guy at the first bike shop I went to was simply trying to sell me something pricier when I told him what my riding goals were. I was kind of ( ignorant) to some aspects of cycling at that time… now I know…
I should’ve caught on when during a longer ride the handlebars had come loose and I had to physically manhandle them into place to finish the last 5 miles of my ride.
Cheap bikes aren’t meant to have the life ridden out of them 😛
It was June of this year when I got my first, real, professional road bike. A hot little black and red Cannondale. I found another bike shop where the guys there have taken me in and taught me essential things, and also challenged me on another level as well. It’s also kinda cool to have a place to land where you can talk about your athletic goals and they listen, offer encouragement and suggestions.
So, since June, I’ve been out on the road a lot more. I’ve added more miles, and learned to not be intimidated by crazy monster hills that make me think they’re gonna eat my lunch.
I’ve sharpened my mental muscle a lot more…and I thought it was pretty tough from all that marathon training…but like any muscle…. there’s always room for growth.
Cycling is work. Often hard and demanding work. You learn to enjoy the downhill moments ’cause you know more hard stuff is coming at you.
Not only that, there is learning about your bike, all that shifting stuff (gah) and also learning how to push yourself more. It’s easy to sometimes stay in your comfort zone, it takes work to get out of it.
So I thought about that whole “conquering the bike” thing.
Being an endurance runner, I will admit, the move to cycling was rather seamless for me. I already had a lot of strength and discipline from distance running so physically it fit me well.
But It’s not just that…it was learning to conquer:
perceived limitations, my assessment of my abilities, getting out of (yet) another comfort zone, mountains, hills, and more mountains to take on, conquering the mechanics of the bike and riding in a different way, conquering self-doubt when the next step seems to taunt me that (what if) I don’t have what it takes? It’s also new skills and having an open mind to be taught and learn.
Conquering a new sport when running has been my “baby” for the past couple years. Hey, at this point, why settle for one sport ? 😛
So I reflected on those simple words she spoke to me and soaked them in… they have come during rides to remind me what I’m capable of, what I’ve learned, and more importantly how I’ve grown and learned.
I’m not done yet. I have so much room to grow, learn, get stronger and better and what I’m doing. But I am confident, I will continue to conquer it.
So I’ll leave these words with you, my faithful readers.
What have you conquered? What seems bigger than you and you find yourself digging deeper to overcome and conquer something you previously didn’t think you could do ? It’s in the journey that we learn and grow but if we are strong and persevere we find we have everything we need in us to conquer and overcome, no matter what it is.