Not only was the trip to Bishop fantastic, the people are amazingly nice in the Eastern Sierra too. It's 15 minutes away from the John Muir Wilderness, and Yosemite is our neighbor. Now I can add to my long list of amazing Eastern Sierra feature's -- It's extremely bike friendly. There are cyclists everywhere. Young, old, expert, and novice. The bike lanes are prominent and drivers actually wave and smile while sharing the road, instead of giving you the bird like in the East Bay. Not once have I been forced off the right turn lane.
The only thing that has been difficult has been riding the bike itself. The elevation in the Eastern Sierra is (obviously) higher than what I'm used to in Antioch, and I was quickly out of breath going up hills at one of my favorite near by towns, June Lake. I was tempted to hop off my bike and walk when my huffing and puffing got intense, but the only thing more embarrassing than wheezing up a hill on a bike is walking up it. So I pounded some puffs off my inhaler and pressed on to complete a short ride around June Lake.
Population: 615 Elevation: 7,650
June Lake, before the huffing and puffing.
What I learned from this ride in the Eastern Sierra, is a lesson I've had before. Even when you are exhausted, when you think you have pushed your body and mind to the limit, none of the temporary feelings of discomfort are going to compare to the feeling of failure felt after giving up. There have been plenty of times when I have reasoned giving up because "something hurt", "something pinched", "it's too hot", "I'm really sleepy", "I'm on a time crunch". The list goes on and on. In reality I'm giving myself a way out. I'm limiting myself. And although I never think that I'm selling myself short at the time, the inevitable feeling of guilt that I get at night when I reflect on my day and see that I didn't believe I was strong enough mentally or physically to complete a goal is one of the worse feelings in the world. Nothing compares to letting yourself down.
It was that impending thought of failure that pushed me to complete my June Lake ride. Pushing through my discomfort and accomplishing my small goal felt great. Despite being short of breath, sweaty, tired, and sunburned, I was on top of the world. I stayed on Margarita over two, what were for me, monster hills. None of my physical discomforts could over shadow my "I DID IT!" feelings of success.
So, my challenge to myself, and to whoever may read this blog, is pretty simple. Just to not give up. To persevere, and push yourself a little farther every day. Have an adventure! Don't listen to the nay sayers, or surround yourself with other people who give themselves "outs". I'm all in on this new bike life adventure. And whatever adventure you are on, I hope you are all in on it too.