At least today’s ride didn’t feature an adventure off Bainbridge island. Unfortunately, there are no videos or pictorial records of today’s ride as the a piece of the mount for my GoPro camera snapped sending the encased video machine bouncing down the road. Even though there are no photos to share, it was an awesome ride just the same.
The famous route around Bainbridge Island is a 32 mile loop known as ChillyHilly. With over 2600 feet of climbs along the route, this ride completely kicked my ass on both days. Fortunately getting lost on Sunday saved me the pain of all those hills on both days. My lost route was longer, but much less hilly. This time, there was no escaping the hills — I pretty much stayed on course.
I never really thought of my Phoenix/Scottsdale rides as flat. I usually find myself working up a steep or challenging grade. The 9-mile hill out of Rio Verde is an example of an extreme hill. The climbs up Happy Valley road east of Pima is another grade that always gets my attention. It is hard to think that little two and three-tenth of a mile climbs of 200 feet can hurt so much. Yet, they do.
When I get back home, I am upping my game. I need to get improve my hill climbing and speed skills. It also means I may have to unload some of my irresponsible and unnecessary extra baggage, too. I have learned a great deal about my cycling prowess by taking these different routes, in unique terrains, and in varied climates. Now that I have learned where my shortcomings are, it is a great opportunity to start preparing myself to overcome them or improve upon them.
Life offers us many opportunities to change and grow, too. We get little reminders about our mental and physical health, our relationship building and communications skills, or our nasty habits and behaviors. Many times they are easily and often dismissed as, “that’s just me.” While it may be you, that is merely a stated excuse to ignore or skip an opportunity to challenge those personality or behavior quirks.
Just because you have developed a nice little routine around being who you are — riding at your safe, comfortable pace along the flat roads with a few challenging grades — does not mean you cannot do a little more to improve yourself.
I have been stubbornly avoiding riding with other people. I like the solitude, the peace and quiet, and the individual freedom that goes with riding alone. I do not need or want to ride with someone every day. However, this does not mean I cannot benefit from a little break in my routine. I have already discovered on this trip that I can gain a great deal of value riding with a group or other individuals.
The same goes with our little quirky habits. Changing it up cannot hurt, you don’t have to do it every day; but, it would probably be a really productive outcome if you challenged yourself to break the routine. Next time you are aware of an opportunity to do something a little differently, embrace it and try it on. I am confident you will discover something in the process.