Nelson Mandela has said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
Courage is just what this Ride Like A Girl team demonstrated Saturday, May 17th when they biked 55 miles from Amily to Pacific City, as participants in the 2014 Reach the Beach cycling event. While family and friends are calling them brave, strong, and confident – many of these gals would be quick to tell you that throughout the weeks and months of training – even up to the starting line, they felt nervous, uncertain, and a bit afraid.
But take a look at them now! They have discovered that you don’t necessarily need to have all the bravery, courage, or know-how to achieve a big, hairy, audacious goal – what you need is girlfriends.
Among girlfriends, they found the courage to:
- take baby steps towards a seemingly-impossible goal
- push past self-defeating feelings of anxiety and self-doubt
- step out of their comfort zone and be open to learn
- keep on trying when quitting seemed more rational
Let’s be more specific. They overcame by …
- accepting ever-increasing challenges to ride a little farther and pedal a little faster with each passing month of training
- sticking with it even when struggling to keep up with the group and sometimes falling to the back
- showing up to a ride even when hills were known to be part of the route and being uncertain in the ability to climb them
- Reigning in negative self-talk with internal conversations, such as, “I can do this” and “Shut up and get your bike!”
Linda Godfrey, who has battled a rare lung disease for almost two decades, shares some of her reflections of the day:
“We had just finished climbing The Wall [short but steep hill that most first-timers choose to walk instead of ride], I found myself away from the RLAG group, riding by myself. For 17 years my lung disease controlled my life, my abilities, my thoughts and this was my chance to prove that I no longer had to live in its shadows, that I could defeat this disease. A few minutes later, I rounded one of the corners on the last stretch … in the distance I could see [Haystack] Rock …. Several RLAG girlfriends where now with me, “OMG – We are going to finish this, I shouted out!” As we neared that finish line, our excitement was almost uncontrollable. We crossed that finish line in sheer joy!”
But wait – there’s more. Three more experienced cyclists joined our team, completing the 80- and 100-mile routes! Together we raised almost $4,000 in donations for The American Lung Association. And the finish line included a special encounter for Linda when the American Lung Association CEO and Reach the Beach Ride Director extended a personal Thank you and Congratulations for her terrific accomplishment.
As with all great accomplishments, there are unseen folks who contributed to our team’s success. Thanks to Diana, Eric, Janet, Kindel, Max, Paul, and Sophie from Northwest Butts on Bikes Meetup for believing we were capable of doing more, keeping the conversation flowing at the back of the pack (aka, “sweeping”), teaching us how to climb hills and keeping us smiling. A special mention and thanks to “The Elevator” (Vest Henry), who also offered an occasional lift up the hills!