Why Aberdeen to Perth?
This week I cycled or at least attempted to cycle from Aberdeen to Perth. I set off at 6.38am from Aberdeen and stopped at Dundee some 11 hours later having cycled 78 miles.
What did this ride teach me? And why was I doing it?
- Planning- Firstly I was reminded of the importance of planning. Knowing exactly what you want and why means you can communicate it clearly to others
- Mind set – Secondly I was reminded of the importance of mind set and consciously choosing your thoughts and mental attitude. On reflection I didn’t actually stop early I actually reached my personal goal set for myself.
- Support – Thirdly I was reminded of the importance of support. I had Mark my husband supporting me and I had our friends Dave and Fiona waiting at the end with a warm meal and a bed. But I also learned about the importance of other support too.
When I committed to the London to Paris Ride which is 300 miles over 4 days I was sent a detailed 16 week training plan that was designed to ensure I was ride ready and able to ride 94 miles in 10 hours on day one, 74 hours over 10 hours on day two, 74 miles on day three and 64 miles on day four.
I started the training in January which was in fact 32 weeks from the ride, as I wanted to be sure to be ahead of the game. I wanted a contingency plan to allow for weeks when I didn’t or couldn’t stick to the plan. Good Friday was 16 weeks from my start date and Aberdeen to Perth was 94 miles. So I set this as my first goal to achieve 94 miles in 10 hours.
What I have learned is that when I have a plan that I believe will help me achieve the goals I want and I can tick off the tasks week by week it keeps me motivated. Personally in business I often have the overarching goals but don’t always break it down into bite size tasks that can be measured weekly as success.
On the day of the ride I also broke the ride down again into smaller sections meaning that as I got more tired I was only focusing on the next 5 mile chunk and eventually I was focusing on the next mile.
Over the past few weeks of training I have found myself more and more demotivated by the gap between my current fitness levels and where I need to be to ready to ride in July. Whilst I know that challenge is important for us to grow I am also mindful that supporting and reflecting on what works is also important.
So I changed my focus from 94 miles to focus on simply being better every time I cycle.
When I set off from Aberdeen I knew the furthest I had cycled was 43 miles.
I knew I felt comfortable with 20 mile rides (that was a change from week 1 when 20 miles felt impossible too.)
So I set myself milestones that were 20 miles apart.
The first stop was 20 miles in and I didn’t stop other than to have a quick toilet break.
The next stop I had planned to actually take a break and have something to eat which was 44 miles in.
Then as I looked for the next 20 miles stop, I remember finding a town that was about 60 miles away and it came up as 59 miles and I knew that was too close.
So I plotted Carnoustie which was 66 miles. I then had a sense I could do more but didn’t feel that another 20 miles was realistic. I then noticed a name I recognised which was Dundee and that was just 12 miles from Carnoustie – that felt doable.
That took my ride to 78 miles which would be almost double what I had achieved before and that became my goal. The minimum I would expect of myself and I had to achieve that in 10 hours or less.
I actually achieved this in 11 hours and by that point I was mentally exhausted, my back was hurting and so was my knee. What I don’t know now is whether I could have achieved 94 miles if I had set that as my goal. I get a sense inside if I had left determined to achieve it no matter how long it took me then I could have made it. And I am pleased with the progress. 16 weeks ago I didn’t think I could cycle 78 miles or stay on a bike for 11 hours.
I was fascinated at how much difference the support made. I had Mark travelling and touching base every 5 miles and stopping with me every 20 miles. I had people on line giving me encouragement. I had donations and pledges.
And I had people waiting for me at the end. My sister and brother – in – law even drove 3.5 hrs to come and see me over the finish line. This spontaneous support really touched me and kept me focused during the last few miles.
And the thing that I found most fascinating was my ability to support myself. For much of the ride I was on my own and at first I thought that would be a problem.
But the truth is that I could stop when my body needed me to. I could decide what route to take and I was solely responsible for my own actions and results all day.
A bit like the silent retreat it gave me time to take care of my own needs for one whole day. I started to notice that when I cycle with Mark I often get deflated when I can’t keep up or I worry that I am holding him up. This sole ride actually took all that self talk away and meant I could focus on me. That was quite liberating and empowering to notice what I can achieve when I focus on my own needs and ask for help. In future I will ensure to practice this kind of self talk when cycling with Mark and others. It was definitely more productive and helpful.
Transferrable life skills
What I have come to realise is that people around me were able to support me when I knew what I wanted and when I needed it. And that I could support myself both mentally and physically when I took time to think about what I needed. As a mum, coach, wife, sister and friend I have been guilty of making sure everyone else is okay then sorting myself out with any time or money that is left.
This Charity Challenge is really demonstrating how I can support others better when I include my needs and when I allow others to support me as I support them. And in many cases leave others to support themselves a little more instead of rescuing them.
I hope you found this article useful and interesting.
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If you are struggling to be heard and understood and it is preventing you from doing your best work and living your best life then please do book a 30 minute call today with no obligation and I will happy set you up for success. I might be part of the solution you need and I might not but you will you know your next best step. Or you can Purchase a copy of my book here
Sheryl Andrews, Founder of Step by Step Listening, is well known for her fast speaking and her passion to make things happen. But what many of you may not know is that in private behind closed doors she was also no stranger to lapses in self belief and an overwhelming sense of not being good enough.
That was until she learned the importance of being heard and asking for support. In her book she describes the step by step journey she took to learn how to manage her critic turning her overwhelm into clarity in 7 steps.
Sheryl now runs retreats that encourage you to really listen to what you need to work, learn and live at your best with others and the confidence to ask for those needs to be met.
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