At the time of writing that post I was really unsure how I was going to manage this bike tour travelling through Tamil Nadu and up into the tea plantations in Kerala. (Up being a significant word in this context!) And to top it all I became quite ill just before leaving for India and could barely walk from one terminal to another when changing flights in Dubai. (I had tested and it was not Covid but it was just as debilitating).
I recalled receiving the training plans proposed by the tour organisers in May that year and thinking – I am not sure I can do this. The plan involved increasing the number of century rides and metres climbed and hours in the saddle until by November there was not going to be time for much else. ‘I will do what I can do and take it month by month’. That was my strategy and it continued to be my strategy as the tour began. I was scared and I do believe that scaring myself is a part of how I grow and stay alive not just in the physical sense but in an emotional sense.
The second day was a killer! Intense heat and a route that zigzagged its way up a mountain, I cracked and finished up spending hours in the sweeper van. Then as the days progressed I found myself swept up with the camaraderie, kindness and crazy humour of my fellow cyclists. No one dwells on problems in fact I rarely heard any mentioned. On a previous tour one of the group rode with a fractured shoulder without complaint. It is an uplifting environment. Together we can achieve more than we ever might individually. I was faced with what seemed to be impossible climbs (for me). I didn’t think my legs could cope with 11% gradients but when urged on by one of the more experienced riders, I somehow found myself at the summit exhausted but so so surprised and pleased. To discover inner strength where we thought we had none is exhilarating and powerful.
The beauty in all of this is to see places most tourists might never witness, to be with people whose very way of being is an inspiration and a learning and to see India in all its glory.
So I urge you …. Let the music in you shine out. Free those scary dreams, go to the edge. Life and learning happen there.
“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that Goddamn mountain.”