Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Getting to the top

I have had this topic in my head for months but I just have not taken the time to write it down. The idea came to me during our Mountain Bike rides in Chagaramas in 2007.

We rode through the back trails, through the beautiful Bamboo Cathedral and then we faced the challenge of the hill to the Old Tracking Station.

In my normal bold and confident manner, I rushed into that climb; pitting raw brute strength against that oh so challenging hill.... and sad to say, I failed.
In Trini lingo -"I buss..." after maybe 30 feet up. I had very little experience riding uphill but I never let that stop me before...

In my ignorance, I started off in a high gear hoping to power my way up and gravity refused to give way... My momentum faded to zero and I reached a point where I could not push the pedal at all... and I had to give up because all my strength was quickly gone...

It did not help when a much older gentleman with his bike set in a suitably low gear calmly rode past me, with his pedals turning freely.

It got worse when a woman from the group also slowly rode passed me panting and gasping. I felt like my heart was about to burst through my chest. Although it was her first hill too, she made sure she had asked a lot of questions about gears and everything else... I thought that all those questions were wasting time... Suffice to say, they made it to the top while I turned around in defeat...

That experience made me think about the challenging hills in my life - exams, career and marriage and how unprepared I have been at times. I have rushed into so many hills without asking questions... without consulting people who have been there and done that... without listening to the wise old sages advising me to tread carefully.

Anyway, after my failed attempt at the Tracking Station hill, I humbly asked questions and I went on the all-knowing Internet and I read about gears and cadence and all the theory of climbing hills.

I also love challenges and I hate giving up...

Only those who dare to fail greatly, can ever achieve greatly.
Robert Kennedy

No one can defeat us unless we first defeat ourselves.
Dwight Eisenhower

On our next ride I did not have it exactly right but I adjusted and adjusted... and it was not smooth but I was determined not to give in to the hill. Going up, halfway to the old building at the top of the first climb, I still felt like I was gasping for oxygen... like a fish must feel after it is pulled out of the water and left flopping around in a boat.
I felt like stopping but I remembered some great advice... weave around from side to side to reduce the steepness of the climb. It helped and I could see that old delapidated building... not too far off... but my body was telling me to stop. I did not listen. I applied Bad Mind and I kept going slowly....slowly and eventually I was there and I threw the bike in the grass and laid down on the side of the road... bun... but I had made it to the old hut.
It doesn't matter that the rest of the group turned the bend and went on to the tracking tower without stopping. I did what I had set out to do and I was content... for now...

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