My closest century ride is 99.6km and it was a ride from Accra through some towns and villages in the Eastern Region of Ghana. We rode through Aburi, Akropong, Adukrom through Somanya, Ayikumah, Dodowa and back to Accra.
We had lot of hills to climb and did one of my longest descending from Adukrom to join the somanya Accra Road. The hills before the descent was tough but the descending was tougher requiring more care and patience. Although, it was a 99.6 km ride, it was not a century ride because it was not a 100km. Remember life is not mathematics other than that I could have easily approximated and recorded my first century ride. My century ride happened this just celebrated Eid holiday. The Coolguys Cycling Club took a ride to Ningo Prampram. The trip was a ride in ride out and it was work and fun on the saddle. In the end, I recorded by longest distance on the bicycle, cycling a distance of 129.3km. Well that is not all, I think l took some life lessons from cycling my first 100km.
Every effort counts
A 100km ride doesn’t just happen with a wish. I have been wishing to clock this distance. It can only happen by making an effort and putting that into practice. You must climb hills and toughen your muscles and mindset. You must go on short rides to prepare you for a big ride. Same with life, no big thing just happens. People who we see as successful today spent years to practice, train and build their dreams. They took little steps, sacrificed little pleasures and invested some time so as to perfect their achievements. The big thing we see happening in people’s life started with small steps before the big thing we see. We must learn to keep practicing and not just siting waiting for the big dream to happen. Remember every step towards the big dream counts.
Life lessons from Cycling – No journey is easy
Everyone feels the pain while we cycled on the long trip but not everyone gave in to their pains. While on the ‘trip’ to achieve your dream , you will face many challenges but you will need to find a way around them if you really intend to get your destination. No matter how prepared you are, your preparation will be tested. For example, even though the journey to Prampram was great due to the fact that the route was mostly flat, the head wind was another challenge. Being in the saddle comes with its own displeasure but you will have to remind yourself of the goal and find a way to adjust to the displeasure in the saddle. The saddle pain, wind and hills all are reminders that no pain no gain. So next time you see someone who made it, just remember he or she overcame many difficulty circumstances and challenges just like the hills and pains that was experienced on the century ride.
Life lessons from cycling – Choose your associates
You can go on a century ride alone. Same in life, you can go anywhere in life alone but its won’t be as easy compared with going with people who have the same desire and dream just as you do. When you are with people of the same mind, you get to be inspired by others on the same route. When you fall back, you may have others to help you back on track. Sometimes, if you suffer a mechanical fault, you get to be rescued by your group member. People on the same mission spread some positive energy that can drive you towards your purpose. A focused group do not have time for pettiness. They have a mission and every action on the journey is towards the mission. Check your association or friends, you may be in a wrong group and that either slow you and derail you from your life’s journey.
Be your own motivation
On the century ride, you get to be motivated by your group but that would not take you through the entire ride if you are cannot motivate yourself. You have to keep riding even when the group is gone ahead of you. On the journey, though you are in a group, it is you and your bike. Your decisions, strategies, discipline and energies will count more than anything or support the group can offer. I remember the words I kept speaking to myself and how it rekindled my energy and motivation to keep going. Be your best cheers and keep cheering yourself on your life’s journey. Don’t give up on yourself. Keep riding. If you feel tired as you peruse your dreams, check the words you speak to yourself. It can revive the dream or kill it.
Look out for beauty
The ride was long. The hills were demanding. The pain in the saddle won’t go away. Sometimes the wind is against you. These things can take away your energy and motivation if you keep focusing on them. Interestingly, there are beautiful things you can look out for so you can take your focus off the problems around. The problems will go away anyway. The hills on the road won’t vanish but there are ways to make them look like they don’t count. The smiles on the faces of strangers, screams and shouts from children, thumps up from unknown persons, the beautiful landscapes, etc, all can get you going. In real life learn to control what you focus on because what you focus on can control what you do. If you focus on the painful words from people, you will become bitter. If you focus on the failures, you will become a failure. Choose your focus and control your focus before they control you.
Learn from challenges, they make you better
The hills won’t be your friends when riding but you have to make them your teachers to help you endure the journey. The pains in your legs are not pleasant but they only tell you that, you are still on the journey trying to reach your dreams. Don’t be stopped by the challenges or the pains. What I found out from the faces of the group of riders was that everyone was experiencing some level of pain but not everyone was confessing it or allowing the pain to stop them. Most successful people had or have pains but they do not allow their pains to stop them in the middle of the journey. Let your pain be your teacher and keep riding till you get to your destination and when you get there you will be glad that you did not allow the pains to stop you.
A century ride is just like a short ride for some people and same way in life, your achievement may be someone’s starting point. Do not allow others achievement to scare you, learn to celebrate your little achievement and get back to work. A little self-challenge is worth your try. Cheers to a beautiful life, more beautiful than a century ride to a beautiful place in Ghana with beautiful flat road that welcomes every cyclist with open hands.
Author: Roderick Ayeh