200 kms - Why I Did It And What I Got Out Of It
“Why? Why am I putting myself through this?” - Was the only thing that was going through my head post 70kms yesterday when the ☀️ was beating my mental and physical resilience like a mallet tenderizer would do to a piece of meat. After the midpoint turn, the headwind that slowed me to a crawl had doubled my anguish. And I had to introspect and realise why did I put myself out there in the blistering heat.
Did I want to be Randonneur?
Did I want to show myself I'm badass?
Did I want to do it because others had done it so it seemed I could do it?
All these questions came and went with every pedal I was taking. I found no answer to the question Why?
What I did get was the answer to Who am I? I found something more valuable to my soul.
When I cycle or sail I find joy, real and pure I don't look for the rewards of any kind. Being there and doing it, enduring the pain, the suffering, the laughter, the journey with my mates is itself the reward. Maybe this is my why.
Now, why am I sharing all this here?
Anyone who knows me, knows me as a private person. True, but I have been going through some stuff for years now - an existential crisis of sorts.
Yesterday during the ride a senior cyclist and a regular randonneur helped me realise that I had been allowed 13.5hrs and I should use every bit of it to finish. But I had set myself a deadline - which was absurd for a first timer. He explained this wasn't a race, but rather an endurance event and helping others along the way was his responsibility - just as someone else had done for him years ago.
Him being there, talking to me about his life choices, regrets and joys of his life, the struggle and pain during the ride he was facing, all this kept my morale up and we cycled the kilometres together. And the journey was filled with laughter, reassurance that we will make it in time and most of all looking forward to the next one. This guy could outpace me by 20kms in a couple of hours, but he stayed by my side till the last 20kms and then I outpaced him because he stayed back for some else who was struggling to get to the endpoint in time.
What this taught me was life is similar:
We don't have to go through difficult times alone. You can speak up without inhibitions and most times people will get you and your perspectives and the journey becomes easier and more enjoyable.
And if you're in trouble pick that goddamn phone and talk to a friend or meet a stranger and lay it out there, at worst they won't give a ** - nothing else is going to happen!
I didn't realise this until recently. I kept it all to myself and slowly it had started to take a toll on me. But that was my journey, so no regrets.
This is the only reason I have started sharing stuff on WhatsApp. Not because I'm having a breakdown or want validation. I share simply because I care. If you are reading this, then you mean something to me and that is why you're on my contact list.
The struggle is real, but so are the blessings.