Pedal In Cleat

One Thing I didn’t Think Of

Planning what to bring on a 350-mile gravel bike race is a dance of engineering and anxiety. Packaging your complete toolbox for every possible scenario is impossible, so loosening your grip and going with the best multi-tool 80% solution is essential – it is similar to life. 

My race started swiftly and settled into a nice rhythm as I absorbed all that the Flint Hills had to offer. There were moments of flow and plenty of tire-shredding gnarly gravel. Given the cloudy sky, the darkness of night came suddenly and, with it, new sensations. Seeing my fellow competitors’ red and white lights sprinkled across the landscape was so cool, but then 95 miles in…

I had a mishap with one of my pedals. I knew how to fix it but didn’t have the proper tool—it was back in my toolbox. Of all the things I had planned for, this wasn’t one of them. I was in the remotest section of the course amongst crickets and other things rustling in the woods; my race was over.

Without a doubt, I was disappointed—I’d spent the last five months training, not to mention the outrageously expensive travel expenses —airfare, hotel, food, and a rental car. To add to the sting, I felt great and was well ahead of my predicted pace. My pedal had a bad moment, but it wasn’t a bad day. 

While I didn’t have an awakening misogi moment, I experienced something cool. It was the vibe I needed to feel to remain hopeful about the future—especially this weekend.

As some yell at the refs and others dance in the end zone, over 5,000 cyclists from all fifty states, D.C., and 48 countries came together not to talk about politics but what makes us human: getting into nature and doing something hard. They rode distances from 25 to 350 miles and everybody’s performance is equal in merit. 

When I called for assistance, nobody asked me what team I was on. They didn’t ask me about my faith or who I love. They only wanted to know, “Where you at?” and sent a 4 x 4 to rescue me.

Yes, for those more cynically inclined, they were doing their job, but these moments matter – all moments that help us see each other and connect, whether we are at work, in our communities, or on some single track in Kansas matter. 

I might not have had my desired weekend, but it was still amazing. Things happen. It’s life. We all get to choose how we meet these moments. I’m still slightly bummed as I write this, but since humans can hold multiple feelings simultaneously, I feel excited to go back and see what unfolds next—just like life.

Before you slide into a new moment, thank those who helped me celebrate Peloton Executive Coaching’s 10th anniversary with our insane 90% off sale. You are wise, my friend! You know that a good thing doesn’t last forever, and you got on it. Bravo! Brava! 

And a special thank you to everyone who picked up a free ‘Put The Phone Down’ t-shirt last month to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving during National Bike Month. Gravel cycling is one of the fastest-growing cycling segments because people want to get off the roads because of distracted or high drivers. We can learn how to slow down, pay attention, and share the road. Thank you for spreading the message of mindful driving. 

My friend Steve was recently cycling home and evolved in a hit-and-run accident. He’s lucky to be here. He shared this post about it if you want to check it out.

Until next week, have fun storming the castle!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *