Oh, the dreaded time change, when it seems like it gets dark around noon and the mileage log slowly dwindles down to one or two rides around twenty to forty miles per ride max (if you’re lucky!!). But, it doesn’t mean all fitness has to stop. Now is the time of year to rest, relax, and reflect somewhat on the past season, while addressing the future and setting some goals for where you want the road to take you next. As I reflect, I know what an importance it is to have a mentor, and even more importantly, the drive inside of knowing you are a mentor to another! A mentor is one who inspires others through actions and words with a lead by example attitude, and who is always there as a push or pull when you want or need it.
Some other thoughts on my mind are what a grand season I have had and how far my fitness level has been elevated this year. As 2012 wound down and the new year was rolling in, I was ready to step off the edge. What edge …?! Well, I’ve always owned a strong will and great sense of self discipline when I allowed it to shine through, but as of recently, I had only been going through the motions. On more than one occasion last year, I found myself asking myself “when I think of what a cyclist looks like, do I come to mind?” Unfortunately, the answer was no. Always NO! But I knew I was the only one that could change that answer, and all I had to do was get off the edge. I was ready.
First, let me go back in time a little … back in 2008, after bringing my cycling experience to an all time high as far as my fitness is concerned, I found myself off the bike near the end of the summer. Many things were going on personally that affected my riding, things that I don’t need to relive, but things that I refer to as “life.” At that time I was riding more than I ever had, but it wasn’t for the miles or speed or any of the statistical reasons, it was to get away from stress. A lot of self inflicted stress, and the bike was the perfect get away! Back then I had no mentor, nor was it any concern of mine. When it all crashed late in 2008, that’s exactly the moment I could have truly benefited from a cycling mentor.
Then in the summer of 2010, a good friend from church mentioned he was getting into bicycling to me at a Knights of Columbus meeting and immediately I was intrigued. Of coarse, I told him I’d like to join him some time and only days later he showed up on his bike at my house … just like that, I was back on the bike. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had just become a cycling mentor myself, and it was exactly what we both needed. I conned him into riding across the state on GABRAKY, a very challenging ride that had once been the ride that got me hooked on cycling, and instantly we were seeing results. Since that first ride, that first GABRAKY, the first century together, the first out of state ride together, and so on, we have become best friends and started this cycling awareness website.
Somewhere between the end of last season and the beginning of this season, we found ourselves on different schedules with different goals, not riding together as much, but one thing stays the same: our passion for cycling grows stronger by being mentored. I set a lot of goals for myself this year that seemed impossible to some, because they only knew the masher that was going through the motions, but when I stepped off the edge and took the plunge, I was transformed into the real me. The KP that is mentally and physically fit, with a good level of self discipline and confidence. The KP that once again enjoys cycling and thrives in competing to improve myself. Part of that is my inner peace, and the other part is the sense of satisfaction I get in leading by example, knowing I am mentoring my best friend, Timmy the Renaissance Man. And now I have a different answer to that question about do I look like what I imagine a cyclist looks like. And an even better feeling, is knowing I’m inspiring another to raise their level of fitness and cycling confidence and also being a yes to that same question.
Sure he is way more technical than I will ever be, and sometimes I ask him questions about data or statistics, but it’s mostly because I know what drives him and I feel that need to push him even when we don’t ride together as often as previously. I’m very driven from within, and take great pride in helping to push others to get the most out of themselves, give their best effort. Sometimes it’s better than mine, sometimes mine is better than theirs, but as long as we are inspired and mentored, we will feel the need to drive harder. As for me, why’d I finally take the plunge I so desperately needed? Well, mostly because I just couldn’t walk the edge anymore. It was time to step away or jump … and jump is exactly what I wanted to do! It also helps me along the way knowing that I now have a mentor too. We don’t always get to ride together either, but I strive hard to be ready to not hold him back when we do, and he knows I’m constantly on his heels, and works hard to stay ahead of me, just as I do for the one I mentor, because leading by example is a sign of a true mentor and friend. Huge thanks Tim for choosing and allowing me to mentor you. Keep pushing hard, before you know it, you’ll be past Renaissance 2.0 and it’ll be time to work towards the 2.22! And a special thanks to my mentor, Schmidty … I constantly strive to reach your elevation. Another mark of a great mentor.
Cheers & Safe Cycling! . . .