September 17, 2012
I mentioned some time ago that part of this bike ride was about dealing with my own “inner negatives,” the voice in my head that says, “You should give up. You can’t do this.” It comes around with the same old speech at the first sign of adversity, and has sometimes convinced me to quit something just when I may have been on the verge of success. Today, that voice was making itself heard loud and clear.
The day started out with a cold drizzle and stiff wind out of the northeast. I was set to ride east into a headwind from Neys to White River, Ontario, a distance of just 72 miles. While I need to average about a hundred miles a day on this ride, White River was chosen as today’s destination as a concession to the weather conditions, and a probable location for a campground in a region where they are somewhat few and far between.
I started off into hilly country, buffeted by that wind and rain, and the familiar voice telling me I won’t make it to White River. The litany of past failures began to run through my head, and I was reminded that when I fall short today, I will then be too far behind schedule to complete my Velo the Lake challenge by Sunday the 23rd. I resolved that I could not let this happen, and with set my face like flint into the wind and rain. White River it must be. The voice did not give up so easily, though, telling me that this weather could keep up for days, until I am once again broken.
Diane met me with a hot lunch and warm camper at 38 miles. As I rested, she told me how strong and happy I looked, and I realized that it wasn’t so bad out there. I was wet, but warm, and over half-way to White River. I was really enjoying the challenge, even though the going was slow into that wind. And, the hills had decreased in size and frequency since passing through Marathon.
I set off again thinking, “I can do this.” I got to White River and Diane was nowhere in sight. I called her and she said she thought I wanted to go further if possible, so she had found a great spot just 25 more miles down the road. Twenty-five more miles! What is this woman thinking?!? Assessing my energy reserves, I knew I still had some fuel in the tank, and a 410 calorie energy bar in the bike bag. While the rain and drizzle kept up, the good news was my route had turned southerly, and the morning’s headwind was quickly becoming a tailwind. After 97 miles on a miserable day in northern Ontario, I pulled into camp a happy, more confident Timothy.
Adversity is a relative thing. Many people have real adversity in their lives, like the hungry thousands who are helped out every year by Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank. While my “adversity” is also real, that battle is one that can be fought only by me, and in my own mind. We can all fight the adversity of Hunger in our region, however. Please visit the Second Harvest website at http://www.northernlakesfoodbank.org and join the fight today.