Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The long road to our goals.

       It was late spring 2007 and the stage had been set for a 5 rider, 6000kms, relay-format-cycle across the country in 8 days. We had been diligently training but nothing really long (and by really long I refer to the 7+hr multiple days in the saddle), so the next step was to incorporate that into the routine. The Destination: Mabel Lake, a medium sized lake situated between Salmon Arm and Sicamous in BC's Interior. We would depart on Thursday, attempt to reach Merrit BC @ 250k, overnight and continue to the lake & remaining 250k Friday morning. As luck would have it our new-out-of-the-box carbon fiber bikes arrived a few days prior to the ride and we thought it would be a good opportunity to familiarize ourselves with the hardware. However, as we made our way towards Hope BC the 1st challenge presented itself in the form of a broken derailleur. We would kill valuable time trying to single speed it, until finally giving way to a cycling shop in Hope where we would kill 5hrs and replace not one, but two derailleurs. Once fixed we would try in vain to press on but were forced to upload at the toll booth (approx 190k in and hitch a ride to Kamloops - 140k away). From there we would cycle to the lake, however in our hearts we knew..... we had unfinished business.

Lesson: Don't test out new gear on the front end of any event.  

I would drive that road 10-12 times each year knowing it had got the better of us and it bothered me so much so that 3 years later, with the support of a good riding mate, we would set out to complete the entire ride. This time we had a plan. Food, extra supplies and were making pretty good headway when an errand bike lean ended up breaking a specialized spoke that could not be repaired without a mechanical aid. As we couldn't true the tire and were tackling significant ascents and descents, we one again uploaded and were driven to the next town where we would rent a car and continue to Mabel Lake. This was strike 2.

Lesson: Sometimes S#i!! happens and you just have to deal with it.

Again, for the next 3 years I would drive the same highway, recalling the previous two attempts as my BID (before I die) goal seemed to slip further and further away. I needed to do something, so I sent out the call. The call to competent riders who would (together) power our way across the mountain ranges into the interior. The ride would have a support driver who carried all the supplies and had extras of everything. In my mind this would be the grand finale to a goal unaccomplished! Challenge was, when the time came to ride the weather didn't care about my personal vendetta. It had an idea of it's own and lashed out with a record days rainfall. The crew was great but it got to a point where a) it was not fun and b) it was not safe. Again, we would make it to Hope where the some would turn back and others would continue to Kamloops and ride the remaining 170k.
Once again... another years worth of preparation and efforts had been lost.

                          Lesson: Sensibility must trump EGO if we want to reach our goals.

Enter 2014. The PMS (Personal Mission Statement) was simple; "next level" meaning nothing more than every undertaking for the year must be moving towards a higher level of challenge, adversity & victory. A quick scan of the BID goals would highlight the obvious; a ride requiring completion. There would be no support vehicle, other riders or set schedule. This was going to be 500kms of non supported man vs goal. I would wake up at 4am on Sunday for a 5am departure and while I had a vague idea of time frames, this ride would be a ride vs. a race. Ironically, with that mentality, getting off the bike, taking in the scenery and properly fueling I would arrive ahead of every schedule. By the end of day 1 I entered Kamloops BC, 16.5hrs & 330kms after beginning. A quick (and sound) sleep led to another 6am wake up call & 7am departure for the final 170k leg of the trip.

Where there once was impatience and forging ahead, there was breakfast stops and conversation leading to the desired outcome. Mabel Lake....... SEVEN YEARS LATER!

Lesson: As it relates to life's personal goals, it matters not when they happen as much as that they happen.


seanverret said...

Nice work Matt! Feels good to knock off one of those elusive goals!!

Rumon Carter said...

Well said, well played, well completed.