We signed up early for the Oct. 7th/8th Hilly Hundred Bicycle Ride near Bloomington, IN knowing that having a goal in the summer would motivate us to build endurance through exercise and good nutrition. The huge hills were no surprise to us since we have been doing this ride most years since 1992. As seasoned seniors, we knew that without training, we would never succeed. When setting a goal, expect interferences. Larry was having problems with his shoulder and an MRI confirmed that surgery was needed. The surgeon Larry trusted the most had an opening Oct. 9th. “What,” I said. “That is cutting it close.” To do 50 miles on Sunday and then turn around and drive 5 hours home for a Monday surgery was a super human goal. But we booked the surgery.
Day one arrived with hot temperatures in the mid-80’s. We encountered some difficulties such as the chain coming off twice and getting a flat tire. We biked 53.7 miles with an elevation gain of 3229 ft. while sweating profusely. I was pleased that my training rides with my good friend, Cleora, had paid off. Unfortunately, Larry and I did not get as much training on the tandem we ride for the Hilly.
Day 2 arrived with the promise of cooler temperatures. I had a good night’s sleep and was ready to tackle another day; but my tandem partner had a bad night with his sore shoulder and was not in any condition to ride. Instead of reaching our goal, we drove the 5 hours home with a sense of wisdom and disappointment as well. We talked about what we could have done differently. We could have lost more weight with less to carry up the huge hills. We could have possibly rescheduled the shoulder surgery. But that didn’t seem like a wise option.
So what did we learn from this experience? We learned the importance of setting goals. “Without a vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18). We learned to be satisfied with reaching the half way mark. We learned that we are a team and we need to respect the needs of one another. “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up, (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12) There will be other opportunities to press on. In the words of Martin Luther King, JR. “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience , but where he stands at times of challenge. “