Today I talk about ‘challenge and reward’. This means different things to everyone.
What is cycling is to you? A sport, a hobby, a release, or a way of life? I’ve found that like many things, what you put into cycling you get back.
Words and Images – Mike Boudrie
I never fail to be amazed by the way cycling connects people. Each week when I go through the Weekly Rider submissions I see what an amazing leveler of people this sport is that we all love so much.
To challenge ourselves makes us better people. What that challenge looks like depends on the person. It does not matter what you choose to do, your first 50km ride, first big mountain or a double or triple century. It just has to be something that will take you beyond your own personal boundaries. It’s how we improve.
For me it’s about challenging myself to find new experiences on the bike, meeting new people, riding more kilometers. It’s about climbing, experiencing, and pushing my physical and mental limits.
I personally think that challenging yourself on the bike translates reward in the form of improvement in many other aspects of life. It improves focus, resilience, creates confidence and self-belief.
I recently followed Team Brevet as they pushed through an entirely new level, riding 800km in 24 hours. An amazing experience to watch five ‘ordinary’ guys challenging boundaries, records and physical and mental limits. It was inspirational to the extreme.
Shortly after experiencing Team Brevet, I joined the good people at A’qto on their first Bici e Gusti cycling weekend for the year in Gippsland. I was expecting a scenic fondo style ride and to meet a few new people and catch up with some friends.
But this weekend of riding took me by complete surprise. Like so many events I attend, you never know what the people will be like, how the event will unfold and what experience you will have.
During the weekend I met new friends and challenged myself. Damian and Nancy lay down the set for people to both challenge and reward themselves. It’s the basis of every adventure they create; the essence of what they deliver.
While the cycling was brilliant and the route provided it all, what I really took away as the ‘reward’ was watching one particular person overcome their own boundaries, and without even realising, help me keep my own life in perspective, while defining challenge at an entirely different level.
I never expected to learn so much from a fellow rider that weekend. It really showed me that the same ride is so different for each individual, it’s both a group and individual experience at the same time.
For one of the riders it was just about being there, being back on the bike after a life threatening illness could have taken everything. Riding just a single km of the 140km day would have been an achievement, but with the challenge laid down, I was awe struck watching her ride km after km, taking on climbs and headwinds all in amazing spirits.
Hearing both her and her husband’s story of facing cancer head on and winning, puts reality back where it should be. The positivity and ‘can do’ attitude they radiated has inspired me to go that extra mile, on the bike and off the bike. It has inspired me to get it done, build the dream and not let anyone say ‘you can’t’.
At a time where we see so many people on an endless search for ‘happiness’, my reward from the weekend with A’qto was to revel in the moment. Enjoy every second with family, grab every opportunity by the scruff of the neck and go for it.
Cycle to challenge yourself, your reward will be the unexpected.
If you'd like to find out more about a'qto's Bici e Gusti Travel here
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