I am on a 2 week vacation trip staying in Tempe, Arizona. I traveled to Tucson from Phoenix for 2 races on the weekend. I have always heard incredible stories about Mount Lemmon. Mount Lemmon received its English name in honor of botanist Sarah Plummer Lemmon, who trekked to the top of the mountain with Native American guides by mule and foot in 1881. Talk about an amazing feat of will power and courage. It is a 27 mile climb up to 9,200 feet.
I figured since I was out there, I felt like I “had” to do the ride to see if all the stories were true. At first I was planning on just riding a few miles to see it. But then the competitive juices started to flow and there was no way I was going to stop or give up, no matter what. I was dressed in bib shorts and a short sleeve jersey. Boy was I not prepared for the mountain. Luckily, my friend Emily that I am staying with was able to help me to complete this task. She ended up bringing me layers of warm clothes and fluids with calories in it. I felt like a professional cyclist climbing a mountain in the Tour de France. It was amazing to see all the different terrain on the side of the road. The weather at the bottom was beautiful and sunny with cactus everywhere. At the top of the mountain was freezing and covered with snow and the smell of the pine trees everywhere.
For a ride this long, you have a lot of time to think about things. A big reason why I love training so intensely is because you really learn a lot about yourself. I honestly believe that you can learn a lot about life through exercise and sport. It was obviously nice to have support going up the mountain after the half-way point. I probably couldn’t have reached the top because I wasn’t dressed appropriately or had enough calories. I have learned that in order to push your body to such an extreme, you have to be your biggest supporter. There was definitely a lot of positive self-talk going on this afternoon. Once I did the first 2-3 miles, my mind was made up and I was completing this task no matter what. Stopping was not an option. The only choice was to get up the mountain and never think anything different. Motivation, confidence, and curiosity kept me climbing each pedal stroke at a time. Looking around at the gorgeous scenery was just an added bonus. That day in total, I climbed 7500 feet. This was without a doubt the most amazing experience I have had as a cyclist thus far. It makes me want to find more opportunities like this. What is your Mount Lemmon that you want to accomplish?
Whenever you start to doubt yourself, whatever the task may be, remember that the mind is your most powerful tool. If you honestly believe in yourself and know that you can do something, Anything is Possible. I know you have probably read this before in my writing, but I know from personal experience that you can push yourself harder than you ever thought possible. Believe in yourself and keep on pushing. If you allow yourself to succeed with the right positive attitude, you are destined to surpass any goals you set for yourself. One of the biggest limiters people have for themselves is setting the bar too low. Reach for the top! Be the strong person that you are and enjoy the ride!