When my daughter asked if I would bike across the US with her, I jumped at the chance. I had no idea what lay ahead.
Terror in the night
Would I be able to bike from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Atlantic Ocean?
Many nights I woke up at 3 a.m. and my bravado gave way to fear -- of trucks running us down, injuries, arguments and the enormity of the project. Was I up to this? Would I be able to get in shape? I was in my mid-fifties after all. I hadn't competed in an athletic event for 25 years. After my daughters were born I slowed down. When the dog got old, I quit jogging and when the dog died my workouts dwindled. I let go of the "athlete" within me.
For several months I didn't tell anyone about the bike trip and I wrestled with the idea in my mind. Slowly I made a firm commitment to myself. When I shared my thoughts with my husband he asked, “Are you sure?” I could see he was frightened about our safety.
That was six months before departure day. I immediately jumped into action.
Planning helped a lot. First I bought the specialized bikes and bikers maps. Next I engaged the professional services of a high performance (triathelite) trainer who put me on a rigorous training and nutrition schedule.
Slowly I built up my endurance and confidence, beginning with slow rides on flat terrain, and eventually pedaling 50+ miles in a day; day-after- day.
Next I started to tell all our friends.
My daughters believed I could do it and so did the super guy I married 25 years ago. I had to believe it myself.
One day as I looked in the mirror, I realized something had changed. Of course I'd lost about five pounds. As the person in the mirror stared back, I said out loud, "Hot damn, you're an athlete now." It felt good to work out, be disciplined and move toward fulfilling the athletic zenith of my life. I relaxed and began sleeping through the night.
Later we contacted the National Osteoporosis Foundation and found a sponsor. We raised $1 per mile we rode for Bone Health education. $52,000 total in three months.
When you can discipline yourself...Remember: There is more strength and discipline within you...than any obstacle you many have to overcome.
Category: Adventure, Girlfriend Getaways
Marybeth Bond, National Geographic author, writer. Twelve books, explored overed 100 countries on 7 continents. Featured guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show and founder of www.GutsyTraveler.com She has been featured over 1,000 times on TV, radio and print. She is a Contributor to National Geographic, Yahoo Travel, Travelgirl Magazine, CNN, CNN Airport Network.
Speaker, spokesperson, author, travel expert, Marybeth, the Gutsy Traveler walks the talk. She's an adventurer; biked 3,200 miles, two months across the USA, traveler to over 100 countries. Media travel expert for CBS News, CNN, ABC, NBC, NPR and National Geographic.