Making it to the top (of the hill)

Written by Lisa Darmanin

It’s just over a month before Gear Up Girl, and I’ve never ridden over 60km (and I’ve entered myself in the 80km Challenge Ride). I still struggle to get up the top of the hill and I still get nervous every set of traffic lights having to clip in and out without falling off. However, every time I go for a ride, or make it to the top of the hill, all I want to do is go again!

In my experience as an athlete, the most frustrating thing about sport is about setting your goals and wanting to reach them tomorrow - not in a month, or a year. You want to be a master immediately. However, like all things in life it is about the process, the journey and celebrating the little wins. What I’ve realised is that half the battle is showing up everyday. We’ve all had those moments where we know we should get up and go for a ride or a run, or to the gym, and when you drag your pessimistic self out of the house you come back 9 times out of 10 feeling a lot better.

I still have a fear that I’m not fast enough, that I’m not good enough or maybe I’ll crash. Sometimes I’m afraid to ride with friends because I don’t want to slow them down. However, I realised I’m never going to get better if I don’t practice, and it’s ok to be slow, because every time you get out there on your bike, you're better for it the next ride.  On top of this, it’s much more rewarding and enjoyable conquering the roads with company!

I went for a ride the other day with my older brother, on the same route he first took me on. My heart rate was about 192, I had the death wobbles and just said to myself KEEP ON PEDALLING! The road started to flatten out and I made it to the peak and even though I was trying to keep my breakfast down, I gasped: “That sucked but I did it so much faster than last time!”.

That was celebrating the little win. So even though I’m not the pro mountain goat that I wish I was, I had recognised that I was struggling just that little bit less than last time!

So with just over a month to go to Gear up Girl, I’m not going to tackle this 80km with ease, but it’s going to be a fantastic achievement for me.

Just remember that it’s good to challenge yourself, it’s good to look up the hill and think how am I ever going to get there! It’s about making the uncomfortable comfortable time and time again and when we reach the top of one hill we are driven to aim even higher next time.

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