Under blue sky and an uncovered sun, I took a couple of test laps around the block to make sure I could still clip in and out of my bike pedals without taking a face plant into the pavement. After spending the day with my family for the Easter holiday and overindulging on decadent treats, I was excited for a workout.
I’m relatively new to cycling. I bought a bike three years ago and rode it casually, but typically stayed with the same, ol’ familiar route time and time again. Last year I was lucky to explore more trails with someone special and it further opened up my desire to get better at the sport.
As I rode out today, I headed towards that familiar route again, going a little bit outside of it’s usual path, just stretching my bike legs and getting my first outing of the season under my belt. The trails were packed as the city emerged from hibernation after a harsh, long Minnesota winter. The grass was finally turning green, water rushed down the creek, smiles plastered the faces of people I passed along the way.
I felt so happy as I took it all in. There’s something about spring in Minneapolis that makes me forget the disgusting cold we experienced over the past six months. I saw a guy sitting in a camp chair strumming a guitar. I saw families out for walks, laughing and talking. I saw a couple swinging in a hammock along the lakeshore and smiled as I remembered doing that last summer with my love. I saw a dad chasing his kid as he let go of what I’m guessing was his first two-wheeler. The city felt alive. I thought about picnics in the park. I thought about drinks on a patio. I thought about pick-up volleyball and softball and kickball. I couldn’t wait to spend every possible second outside for the next six months.
As I pedaled around a second lake in our Chain of Lakes, I started thinking about one of the goals I made for myself at the start of this year: to complete a triathlon. It seemed like no big deal to say that back then, when there were a lot more months between me and the season of events. But as the warmer weather arrived, I started getting nervous and doubted my ability.
There is one particular tri that I wanted to do this July, but I had been hesitant to register for it. I told myself I would train for it and “see how I felt” as the event got closer. That way, if I wasn’t ready I wouldn’t have to go through with it. But if I was, I could just sign up and only commit to it when I knew I was ready.
I felt really great as I rode my bike this afternoon and was excited to go out of my comfort zone on my next ride, exploring more trails. I had always had this fear of being super far from home and getting a flat or something and not knowing what to do… and that’s why I always stuck to the same trail close to home. But I’ve realized if that happens… so what. So I have to call for a ride or figure out how to fix it. I’ve realized that I can’t avoid new trails because I’m worried something bad might come up. I have to go out there anyway, expecting bumps and being confident that I’ll figure it out.
And that’s when I decided to register for the July triathlon today. I’m still nervous. But I figured out the only way I would push myself to train, the only way I would go all in, was if I committed to it without knowing for sure that I’ll be ready.
Now it’s up to me to try my best. And when I cross that finish line, no matter what shape I’m in, it will be worth it because I didn’t quit.