Today I quit

21 Apr

Today there was ugly crying. Today there was silence. Today there were cross words spoken. Today I was ready to throw in the towel. Today didn’t quite go to plan. But, I’m not the only one who has days like this… am I?

As you’re probably aware in just 27 days I am committed to doing the Pies to Pacific bike ride. A 155km ride from the Yatala Pie Shop in Brisbane, to Byron Bay. I don’t normally randomly join rides, but of course this one caught my attention as it is a fundraiser for Motor Neurone Disease. A disease which I detest. A disease which my brother has. A disease for which I would love to see treatment options and beyond that – a cure.


Ki being super helpful with the tyre change… after all, someone has to have clean hands to take the selfies…

So today was an opportunity to do a training ride. The goal – no less than 120km. Kim and Kiara had offered to join me, and for that I was very thankful. Kim had a deadline, and we therefore decided that we would cycle out an hour and a half, and back and hour and a half. Then, Kiara and I would do a further extension of the ride to make our distance up to the 120km. Thankfully the weather held off, the sun was shining and it was a great day to be out and about – even a flat tyre 5km into our journey wasn’t enough to dampen the spirits…

The ride out was otherwise uneventful. I wanted to practice sitting on the girls’ wheel as I would in a peloton (as this is the format of the MND ride). We cycled north and made it out past Caboolture, towards Bribie Island.  At the 45km point we turned around to head home in order to ensure Kim was home by her deadline.


The three amigos – me with Ki and Kim at the halfway point

I can’t exactly tell you where it started to go wrong for me. We’d come back through Caboolture, but as we headed south I was starting to really struggle to stay on the wheel of the girls. I kept falling back off the pace and then found myself struggling to get back on again. I kept watching them cycle into the distance, with seemingly effortless energy. The continual interval intensity workout was becoming difficult. Instead of just getting on with it I found myself in a horrible head space. At the 66km mark I really lost it – I remember the distance because I remember thinking that I wasn’t even half way through what will be the ride distance in a few weeks’ time. It was at this point that I decided I needed to withdraw. I decided I simply don’t have the physical or mental strength to complete the 150km ride. To reach this conclusion hurt a lot. I was sobbing (note, this is a challenge while riding, and further seems to zap the strength in your legs). I was calling myself all kinds of terrible things. I was angry at myself. I was disappointed with myself. I was thinking about everyone that I would let down by not riding. But I was wondering at what point I admit that I’m just not up to it, and at what point I decide that my stubbornness can only get me so far… At this point I managed to let the girls know that I would be concluding my ride at Kim’s and would not be doing a subsequent loop. The 120km minimum ride had just turned into 90km. I took the easy way out.  This further compounded my misery.

I’d love to say that I sucked it up and got on with it… and to an extent I did. I didn’t throw a complete tantrum, sit by the side of the road and wait for someone to collect me. Nor did I decide to go to the closest railway station to catch the train home (they weren’t far away). I did complete the 90km but I failed to reach 120km. On arriving back at Kim’s I really just wanted to get in the car and go home and nurse my self-inflicted wounds. As I left to head home I was so incredibly cross with myself for quitting. I decided that I would finish the intended ride distance on the wind trainer. So, as soon as I walked in the door to home, I put my bike on the trainer and proceeded to finish the kilometres – with the goal of doing another 40km – just to show myself I could.


Peter and I ride together on Zwift today, taking my total to 130km

Simultaneously I sent a message to my family suggesting that I really didn’t think I could do the ride.  They reminded me that the loved me and believed in me. In a short time I had videos of a niece and nephew telling me that they loved me and that I “was the greatest”. Oh no – even more tears!! My family suggested that I focus on each turn of the pedal rather than the 150km in full, and that after all, you only eat an elephant one bite at a time… Then in perhaps the biggest show of support, my brother jumped on his bike and together we rode the final 10 kilometres, as he sent encouraging messages via the ride app.

During this time I also discovered I’d received another donation while I was riding. Someone else who wanted to encourage our family, and who wants to find a cure for MND (thank you Leigh). I couldn’t quit now, could I?

So… while today didn’t go to plan, I still managed to tick off 130km in five hours of cycling.  I’m calling the break between the 90km outdoor ride and the commencement of my 40km indoor ride “Pottsville lunch break”. On the day of the ride, at about the 110km mark, we stop for lunch in Pottsville. Then we finish the last 40km (ish) into Byron Bay. While the lunch break probably wont be about 1.5hrs like it took today to get home and sorted, there will be a short rest interval.  So, on the day I just have to keep hanging in there.

With a little more perspective I’m hoping I can still do this. I’ll keep training for the next few weeks. I’ll give it my all. I’ll try not to have further melt downs. I’ll try to focus on one pedal at a time. I’ll endeavour to whack down the negative talk when things get tough, and work on having confidence in myself. I don’t want to quit. I hate quitting. I’ve done events where the odds have been stacked against me for finishing, and this will be no different.  It’s going to require me to dig deep – really deep, but I have a brother who does that every day.

I know there are so many worthy causes out there, but if you have the means and inclination to support this one, then please click on the following link: Pies to Pacific

As my brother suggested today, if I kept going did I really quit and lose the battle? I’m still unsure on that one. Ultimately I did the kilometres I wanted to, albeit in a slightly different way than planned. Pies to Pacific, I’m not finished with you yet…


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