What do wish to declare?

When I left for my ride across New York State last Sunday, I was anticipating completing my last mile today, but like Robert Burns wrote, “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

Two weeks ago, I shared that readiness is a decision, not a feeling, and last week’s theme focused on the importance of the first mile and the difference between being ready and prepared. Although a bit nervous, I was prepared to conquer one of my long-standing cycling goals.

Unfortunately, Mama Nature spritzed the area this week. Day one was 149 miles to Kingston, and the day’s humidity and showers soaked me to the bone. During the next two days, I danced with thunder and lightning storms on my way to The ‘Cuse. It wasn’t all awesome sauce, but I was eager to continue to Rochester until…

After a few yoga poses to release a few kinks, I turned on the television Wednesday morning, and every local channel was warning viewers to stay inside due to the poor air quality drifting down from Oh, Canada. I pulled the plug a few minutes later, rented a car, and drove to Rochester to see my Dad.

During my first-mile prep, I planned for this moment and decided that if the air quality index climbed over 100, it would be a no-go values-based health decision. I could have gritted it out, but breathing gunk for seven to eight hours doesn’t help me win in the long run – or should I say long ride?

Many know their company values but rush through life unaware of their first principles. Identifying and living them serve as guideposts that help us decide how to move forward, especially when facing difficult choices.

I saw other cyclists at the finest Best Western breakfast that morning, and they were pedaling forward. It’s easy to judge their decision as unwise, but my call to stop wasn’t any more right than theirs. We had different values-systems that influenced our choices, just like we all do.
Besides underscoring the importance of living a values-based life, this trip permitted me to have some dessert and a few milkshakes before I finished my plate.
Growing up, my mom would tell me I couldn’t have dessert unless I finished my plate – after all, there were starving kids in faraway places (including our hometown). For the record, I love dessert, so I found a way to Hoover up every morsel or at least move things around to make it appear that I put an acceptable dent in my dinner. Unfortunately, to this day, I find it nearly impossible to leave anything on my plate.

I didn’t finish my planned ride. You could say that I left food on my plate. Some would consider it a failure, but I still see it as dessert worthy. Yes, realizing a traditional definition of success is impossible if every project or ride misses the mark, but this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t acknowledge our small wins because they propel us to bigger ones.

I rode 420 miles in three days for the first time and felt strong, except for a little diaper rash due to the extreme condition. I saw beautiful parts of New York and strengthened my ultra-endurance confidence. I like to say that we win some or learn some, and although I didn’t “win,” I discovered so much that will help me tackle this ride again later this year.

Thank you for all the support along the way, and I encourage you to identify your values, pay attention to your first and last miles, and celebrate your small wins as you pedal forward. Download the Better Life Workbook to take the exercise to help you identify your values.

For those in The States, this is a holiday weekend to celebrate declaring our independence. Regardless of where you live, I hope you will take a moment to Pause Breathe Reflect and decide what you wish to declare.

How do you wish to live?

How do you wish to be?

What do you wish to have more freedom?

Until next week, have fun storming the castle! (by the way, I stayed at a castle). You can check out these videos to see what happened on Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3.

Happy July 4th!


p.s., Become the coolest dressed human in your community by grabbing your Pause Breathe Reflect gear. Click here to visit our store.

p.s.s., Join us for a special July 4th meditation about freedom at 8 am Tuesday via our app.