I started this Journey to save my life, though I didn’t realize it at the time.
I started this Journey because being fat had gotten old and I was no longer young.
I wanted to belong.
I wanted to have a place in life. My life.
So I started to walk and I started to eat right and I started to take the weight off.
I got on the bike on a wind trainer and I couldn’t pedal. My bulk was in the way.
I cried. The feelings, the emotions, the anger at myself for getting so fat came boiling up and I cried.
I lost weight. I walked more and then I hiked and I worked to get back to the bike.
I had forgotten.
I had forgotten the joy of riding.
Then I rode.
In early March.
I got on the bike and I rode
I went eight and half miles.
I gasped for air as I got home. The long shallow climb from the center of town to my home lest me winded with wobbly knees.
But I rode.
I rode ten miles
Then I rode fifteen miles.
In April I rode twenty-two flat miles. I was tired. My legs hurt but I did it.
I rode more.
I lost more weight.
I hiked more.
And I rode.
In June I rode 50 miles. My friend had to help me up a couple of hills but I made it.
I rode and I remembered. I remembered how good it felt to be on a bike.
I fell in love again.
I fell in love with riding again.
And I rode some more.
And I fell deeper in love and I remembered. I remembered the joy of wind across my body, the rush through the air, the sense that I was almost flying.
I had forgotten but now I was remembering. It was coming back to me. All the joy and pleasure of a long ride on a nice day with no destination in mind, just a desire to turn the wheels.
I hurt my knee. Tore the meniscus and I couldn’t ride. My only question to the doctor was when can I ride again.
And then I was back on the bike. Four months after the injury I rode again and the love was still there.
And winter came and I don’t deal well with the cold so I hiked and I walked and I waited for the warm weather of spring. But the cold lingered so I rode. I went out and I was cold but I rode. And I rode some more and the love was still there. The passion was there and I rode. And I learned.
I learned I was good on a bike. I could handle a bike and I could flat-out burn it on the flats.
And people encouraged me and some called me an inspiration. And I rode. And I started to lead the rides and I found people asking ME for advice on how to ride.
And I piled on the miles. 1000, 1500… I rode. I rode whenever I could and I fought off my doubts and my fears and I rode some more.
I did rides that I was afraid to do. Too hard, to long… I did them. And I am told I inspire.
And today as I sat in my office at work with the door closed so I could have a few quiet moments to eat my light lunch and relax I finally understood.
I figured it out. I know now what changed.
I didn’t know but I am certain I now know what changed December 27, 2011.
I realized it today as I thought about the ride on Sunday. The ride that so frightened me on Friday. It came to me slowly, almost like a distant voice. I realized what happened that morning in December as I sat on the edge of my bed and tried to gather the momentum to hurl my 306 pound body to an upright position so I could walk to the shower. I have tried to understand what changed, what happened, why that morning, why that day.
As I sat in my office today and thought about the ride, the ride I was glad I did, the ride I was afraid to do, it came to me.
What I decided that morning in December of 2011 was to no longer give in to the fear.
That was it.
I was not going to be able to not fear. The fear would be there. The fear of change, the insecurities, the doubts. Something inside said enough. It was time to stop giving in to the fear, running and hiding behind food, behind excuses, behind the closed doors of a panicked self.
So I got up and I said enough. I fought off the fear and I started the Journey in to the unknown. I would fight the insecurity and the self-doubt and I would face the things that frighten me.
And so the Journey began. I could have stayed fat. I could have stayed out of shape. It was easier than the Journey has been but it was time to fight past the fears.
And Sunday I fought past the fear. I faced my fear of riding up hills, the fear of failure. I rode.
And I finished
And I traveled further than the fifty miles on the map.
There are so many miles still to travel, so many hills still to climb. I know now that I can fight pas the fear and I can travel those miles. I can climb those hills. It may hurt. I may not be fast. I will get up the hills. Look how far I have come.