I recently embarked on my 10th Houston to Austin, Texas MS 150 bike ride – a 160-mile ride to raise funds for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) research and support. I was on the bike for about 14 hours over 2 days, I burned over 7,000 calories, and there were a whole lot of hills involved. In between thinking about my tired legs and how many miles I had to the next rest stop, I had a lot of time to think about life too.
People ask me all the time about this ride, “How do you do it? What’s the secret?” And I tell them, “There’s no secret, you just keep pedaling, that’s it. And when it gets tough and you don’t think you can pedal anymore, you keep on pedaling until you get there, and you just don’t give up.” There’s a lot of suffering involved with endurance road cycling…especially when the weather presents a challenge. Wind, rain, cold…can definitely wreak havoc on your ride. And when you add in the hills too, it can really get tough! But then some rides are fantastic! Sometimes the weather is perfect, and the wildflowers are blooming, and I think, “Wow, I’m the luckiest person in the world!” And on some rides, I’m thinking I feel great, and then suddenly the road turns and I’m riding uphill, battling a head wind. Then the road turns back and I’m flying downhill effortlessly!
As I was riding the hills on the MS 150 this year, it occurred to me how similar the feeling is to starting a business. Sometimes I’ve got it all figured out, and everything is going according to plan, and I feel like I’m on top of the world! And before I know it, it’s not quite as perfect a situation as I thought, and now I’m solving challenges, and I may not know when those challenges will be resolved. And I just have to power through it and keep on moving! And never give up, because waiting around the corner is the top of another hill – another high point!
I recently heard Dave Asprey, Founder and CEO of Bulletproof Coffee speak at a Digital Marketer conference. He recommended tolerating a cold shower every morning to develop your mental toughness. I feel like for me, cycling has taught me the mental toughness and stamina required for entrepreneurship. One of my favorite quotes is one by Albert Einstein, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” So, when life gives you lemons….don’t forget to just keep moving! (After all, lemonade can be very refreshing after a little exercise!)
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