When I was younger, I remember my dad telling me to "get used to doing things you don't like". I have held that saying close to me ever since the first time he said it, and have reflected on the different meanings it can carry.
To me cycling is more than a sport, with racing and results. I truly love the grueling training with countless hours in the saddle experiencing some of the most trying mental and physical experiences I have had as an athlete and person. I learn something new about myself each week and I believe that you need to look within yourself to help mold the best version of ‘you’.
I think back to the quote my dad has said to me on many occasions, and it has helped me push through those difficult times when I may not be feeling it. On days when my coach has a six hour ride planned, followed up by an eight hour ride the next day, it is painful in the physical sense but I reflect on the saying and remind myself this is a mental block that I need to power through.
My close friend, Jonathan Davis, has been such a huge help to me as my coach the past few years. He reached out and told me that these back-to-back rides aren't meant to feel good (duh) and he was right! But, by telling myself to get used to doing the things I don't like (or don't want to do) they feel a little better. I think that saying mostly applies to doing the hard things - getting used to the uncomfortable - and realizing it will feel better and become easier when you are done. As cheesy as it may sound, there really is something beautiful about brutal solo rides in the early dark hours - there is no other place I would rather be.
All things aside, I truly enjoy the journey that solo endurance training offers to me, more so than the race. It's a roller coaster of ups and downs and meeting (or demolishing) personal goals. It means toughening up and getting my ass out the door when I would rather stay cozied up in bed with the dogs and Mary sleeping soundly or staying up late to watch another episode of something on Netflix.
We all have personal struggles and it isn't fair to say who’s problems are harder or more important. Things that are difficult to some, may not be to others, but I think we all need to struggle a little – we need to get uncomfortable and get used to doing the shit we don't want to do.