You may or may not know I did a thing this week. I joined the Maryland Trek for Day 4 and biked from Frederick to Linthicum. I love to bike. I bike a LOT. But I'm not going to lie, I was not prepared for this type of bike ride. There were hills. BIG hills. Back-to-back hills. 10 miles in, I texted my husband and told him I thought I would die and I wasn't going to make it.
We headed back out and there was a lone bike in front of me (because yep, I was at the very end of the pack). I followed the blinking light and kept telling myself, as long as I could see the light, I could follow them. I didn't care if I was last. I just wanted to finish. As I got closer to the light, I said to the guy riding, "Hey, I appreciate you hanging back with me." He chuckled and said, "Sure if that's what you think I'm doing." And we kept riding. He told me I was downshifting too late on the hills and killing myself in the process. I needed to get to the easier gears faster.
At the 20-mile break, there was an announcement made - we had to keep to the timeline and if someone (me) couldn't keep up, they'd have to get in the van. They told me if I got to be more than a mile behind the pack, they were picking me up. My new bike buddy grabbed me and said "Let's go!" before the break was over and we headed out in front of the pack. I wanted to cry with happiness. We went around the corner and I finally introduced myself and officially met my new friend, Mike.
Mike said to me, "You are not getting picked up. You will not get in that van. You will ride this whole thing and you will ride in with the pack." And you know what? I actually believed him. Over the next several hours, Mike coached me in biking. When to shift gears, when to get low in my seat. He celebrated with me when I went flying DOWN a hill and said "That felt AMAZING!" He reminded me that though that day was about raising money for beautiful children fighting cancer and their families - I had to also do it for myself. Because if I didn't do it for me, I couldn't do it for anyone else. I couldn't focus on the next hill, the next mile, the next 10 miles. I just had to focus on that very moment and that single push of the pedal. And all those single pushes of the pedal resulted in me finishing.
Throughout the day, Mike kept saying to me "Not today, Katy, not today. You're not getting in that van today!" When I texted him that night to thank him for getting me through the day, he reminded me of his profound message:
"In life, when someone offers you the van, remember, NOT TODAY!"
So I'm going to take that with me from the Trek. That and so many more lessons that are still unpacking themselves from that amazing day. I'm sure I will share them with you over the next few weeks it was full of emotions. Highs and lows. But for now, I'm just going to remember, "Not Today!"