One of the questions that I ask myself every year on day three of the trip, and this is close to year ten of doing a long distance bicycle trip, is “why am I doing this?” The word that most describes me tonight is pain. One of the things I have done on most trips is to schedule a rest day on day four in order to recover and heal a bit, but because we only had time for a twelve day trip I skipped that normal practice. Whooooeeeee I wish I hadn’t done that! There are twelve reasons I do these trips each year, I have written them down so when I ask “the question”, I can read the answer.
One of them is to develop the character traits of endurance and self-control, which are two of the most important character traits needed if a person wants to accomplish a lot with his life for God. In the morning my alarm will go off at 5:30 am and I will say to myself, “I don’t want to get out of bed”, (a sleeping bag on an air mattress on the ground in a tent), but I do anyway. After I pack everything and eat some oatmeal I say, “ I don’t want to get on that bike”, but I do anyway. When the first big hill is looming in front of me I say “I don’t want to pedal up that hill, but I do anyway. Why? Because that is the goal that I made in a moment of inspiration, or maybe craziness, and definitely when I was feeling good. So because I made the goal, for whatever reason, I get on the bike and pedal 70 miles again, and again until the trip is over.
Here is an important principle that I believe to be very true. “People who don’t make goals to do something extraordinary or at least a bit over normal in their life, don’t accomplish much with their life, and those who make noble goals and then abandon them when it gets hard, accomplish even less”.
I do abandon some goals, but I do it because of circumstances outside my control. I do downsize some goals, also for the same reason. This years bicycle trip was originally planned to be 33 days long, but turned into 12 because of the Coved thing, and very few camp sights open.
Growing strong in character and accomplishing something with my life that matters is what life is about.