As we neared the end of Day 5, having just finished our big climb of the day, and powering through the Yampa Valley at an ungodly pace – we were all beat. Beat because we had ridden 475 miles over 5 days; beat because the heat was only marginally more relentless than the wind; beat because while we had trained for this, nothing could quite prepare us for actually doing it.
Being physically beat impacted each of us emotionally too. We spoke more negatively about the day; about wanting to be done; and wanting to eat; to sleep beyond 4am…We were all “done.”
My family met our motley group at mile 85 with cookies, cold water, signs and cowbells fit for the Tour de France, and some welcome encouragement. Something odd happened after that stop. After seeing my boys, wife and parents there on the side of the road, I was energized. I was more ready to spend the following day off of my bike and with them. I felt a boost in both my spirit and in my legs.
There’s something psychological within each of us to power through something when we feel we can’t make it; when we can see the light at the end of the tunnel; when we know something better awaits us, just over that next hill.
For many of our guests at the Lawrence Street Community Center, they don’t have anyone cheering them on or reminding them of what lies around the next corner. There’s no welcoming committee waiting with cookies and cold water. They don’t know where the end to their present circumstances lies or where to find it.
Today’s rest day has been awesome. Many of us enjoyed time with family or at least time doing something other than riding our bikes. The Plotinus of today’s rest allowed me to press beyond my limits as yesterday came to an end. What do you focus on when time gets tough? Are you listening to those cheering you on and focused on what still lies ahead? Place yourself in the shoes of our guest at the Lawrence Street Community Center. Who is running alongside them during the home stretch?
While we ride in Break The Cycle to raise money to help end hunger, I ask you to consider ways you might be able to encourage those on their own journey this summer. More than 900 men, women and children visit the Lawrence Street Community Center every day. Our staff works hard to offer them daily hope and encouragement but we could always use more “cheerleaders.” Consider learning more about our volunteer opportunities here and encourage folks whose real lives make my pain on this bike yesterday seem so trivial.