Is It About the Destination Or The Journey??

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The Longest 1 Day Ride Of My Life – 231km

I recently participated in a 231 km Lake Ontario to Lake Erie ride that was the furthest I have ever cycled in one day. I have done multi day races before such as Giro Sardegna however my typical daily training ride would be a maximum of 60 km. One of my pals that I have raced in Giro Sardegna with mentioned a few months ago that I should come on their “Bikes and Beers” ride to Lake Erie. I have no idea why but I reluctantly agreed to participate in the ride. 

I was very nervous about the ride as it was by far in away the longest ride I have ever done in one day. I did a group ride about a month ago that was approximately 100 k which was less than half the distance of this ride and that was my longest of this season. I was also nervous as the forecast called for super hot and humid day and I am always nervous about a repeat of the near death Marathon experience that happened to me 1999.  In addition with the super hot and humid day, I was also nervous about having massive cramps like I have had happen during Giro Sardegna a times. If you missed that blog on Overcoming Adversity In GiroSardegna you can access it here:https://kevinbradyhealth.ca/girosardegna-2018-overcoming-adversity/

The Start

I was up at 4:50 a.m. so that I could have a proper breakfast and hydrate well before my ride. Our leader John provided a ceremonial speech to provide us all with motivation at 6:25 a.m. We started the ride at 6:30 a.m. from his home in Oakville and when we started out, the heat and humidity was already affecting me to the point that I was having trouble breathing right out of the start. I was trying not to think of how laborious my breathing was as I didn’t want it to hinder the rest of my ride. I was thinking at the time that this was going to be a super hard day and I may not be able to make it.

We proceeded from Oakville, through downtown Burlington, along Lake Ontario through Stoney Creek, rode up the Mountain and along Ridge Road overlooking Lake Ontario. We travelled through Grimsby and eventually headed south though West Lincoln and had our first water break in Smithville at approximately 65km. We then headed on nice country roads toward Lake Erie and eventually hit Lake Erie.

Focused on the goal of finishing

During the ride and up until that point, I was totally focused on the goal of finishing the ride (and whether I could finish) and was not really enjoying the ride. It was at this point that I started to take notice of all the beauty around us. The sun, all the greenery, the fields, the farms, the fresh air, the other cyclists and I had a feeling of elation come over me. I realized at that point that I was so focused on the goal(finishing) that I had not been enjoying the journey. 

Enjoy The Journey – Change of Attitude

Once I realized this I couldn’t help but being totally excited about all the beauty around me. I also felt a huge source of gratitude that I was invited to participate in the great ride with an amazing group of people. I was also feeling very grateful for the fact that I had the physical capacity to be able to participate in a ride this long and gorgeous. 

The long leg of the ride along Lake Erie was simply breathtaking. I commented to some of the other riders that you could have easily been in the south in one of the islands. It was simply beauty at its best. My change in attitude of focusing on the journey and being in the present instead of just focusing on the goal totally changed my entire outlook on the ride. The other benefit of enjoying every moment was that I found the effort of cycling seemed to disappear and I felt like I was in the “flow” and was just floating along the road. It was an amazing feeling and those that have experienced that “flow state” whether in sports, business or life know exactly what I am talking about. 

 Your Life – Are You Focused On the Goal Or The Journey?

Like my ride, I think in life many of us get caught up in focusing on the goal or the destination instead of enjoying the journey along the way. I know in life that many of us are focused on income goals, purchasing a house, getting a bigger house, making more money, working towards retirement, getting a vacation property etc.. I believe it is so important that we live and love each and every moment of every day as we go along our life journey.  I often think of the fact that this moment in time we will never ever happen again so we better live it to the fullest and enjoy. 

In my life, this means taking time to slow down, notice nature, notice this beautiful world we live in, notice our loved ones and loving and enjoying our family, friends and all  life’s adventures.

The Journey Continues

We stopped for lunch at the 135km mark in Cayuga which I must say was a welcomed break. We ate a restaurant that was a converted church called Shelly’s that was great. The only downside was at that point the temperature was hovering around 42 degrees with humidity and with Covid restrictions we had to eat outside so there was no way to escape the heat. In any event it was a great stop with super service and gave us the hydration and fuel we needed to finish the last 100 km of the day. 

The Final Stretch

We proceeded from our lunch stop through Haldimand, Caledonia, Ancaster and took one last needed break in Dundas. At that point it was feeling like a Marathon with the heat however we didn’t have that much more distance to go. We then proceeded out of Dundas, through downtown Burlington, and finally home to Oakville. 

How did it feel?

As I was on the final stretch into Burlington and Oakville, I was trying to compare this ride to other long endurance events I have done in my life that would have been as tough. The only two things I could come up with that felt very similar was the feeling you get in the last 10k of a tough marathon or it felt similar to the final 10 km stretch of the 27km run Lauren and I do running up Whistler Mountain. In all of these instances it is for sure “Mind over Matter’ to get you home and finish during the final stages. If you missed my blog on our run up Whistler Mountain you can access it here;https://kevinbradyhealth.ca/training-week-in-nature/ ‎

Summary

In summary, it was an amazing and gratifying day. I want to thank John N. for organizing a great day and inviting me and also thank him and his amazing wife for hosting the after ride dinner and social. I must say that the after ride beer, swim and food was amazing!

I would also like to thank the entire “Bikes and Beers” gang for “pulling” me most of the day as I was middle to back of the pack most of the day hanging on to ensure that I would be able to finish. I must say I  was so impressed by the abilities of all the other cyclists as they were a super strong (and fun) group. We cycled for approximately 7 hours, covered 231kms and averaged approx. 30 km/hour which as I outlined earlier is the longest I have every cycled in one day. 

Our Life – It isn’t about the goal, it is about enjoying the journey along the way. So think to yourself, are you doing everything possible to enjoy your life today. Loving and appreciating this gorgeous earth, your family, your friends and living and loving every moment of every day. 

Wishing you and your family an amazing healthy day, 

Kev

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Showing 4 comments
  • Sue Arnold
    Reply

    Love the article Kevin! It was so nice to finally meet you on this ride! I have read a lot of your posts and truly enjoy them! John N was gracious enough to get me started on your blog! I look forward to riding with you again in 2021 for 235 kms! John N is already working on next years ride! Can’t wait!! Look forward to seeing you again soon!

    • Kevin Brady
      Reply

      Thanks so much Sue. You are an inspiration and such a very strong cyclist and a great person. Keep up the amazing work. Kev

  • Marge
    Reply

    Hi Kev. That’s quite a story. You and the other cyclist certainly deserve a lot of credit.

    Congratulations on finishing the event and being able to tell such a lovely story to your family and friends. Good luck in the future

    Love, Marge

  • Bryan D Webber
    Reply

    Great story and reflection, Kev. Thanks for sharing. Nice to bump in to Barb in our new Hamilton neighbourhood last month, and to hear that you are all well. Take care.

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