The White Mailbox Up Ahead On The Left

My legs were on fire. My lungs felt like they were shrinking.

I was on a bike ride with my buddy, Carey. We’d recently renewed our commitment to spend more time on our bikes. This ride was our fourth over the last week. The soreness that comes from spending time on a bike seat was starting to fade. But with each progressive ride, we were pushing ourselves to go a little farther.

On this ride, we set off to tackle a hill that was a few miles away. It wasn’t anything dramatic. A fairly gradual climb that would test our strength in a different way.

As we started to move up the hill, we both felt the burn. I kept clicking into lower and lower gears. At one point, I had to stop. I wasn’t very pleased with the results of the test at this point. While I gulped down some water, Carey called back to me, “let me know when you want to turn around.”

That was all I needed. In that moment, I decided that I would follow through on what we had said we would do earlier – make it to the top of the hill. That’s where and when I’d turn around.

Pedaling slowly up the hill, I began to make connections between the struggle of climbing a hill on my bike and working through the difficulties in my life. It doesn’t matter how slowly you have to move at times. It may require taking a break here or there. It’s important to push yourself but not harm yourself in the effort.

Whatever it was I was doing, I simply needed to keep moving forward.

That’s what I did. I arrived at the top of the hill about a minute behind Carey. We both congratulated each other and then Carey said, “As I came up over the last rise of the hill, I kept thinking just make it to the white mailbox up ahead on the left.” In other words – keep moving forward.

Here’s a few other observations I’m thinking about from today’s ride:

  1. I wouldn’t appreciate the ride down the hill as much if I hadn’t done the work to make it up the hill.
  2. Focusing on the whole hill can be overwhelming. Focusing on the next section of the hill (or the white mailbox) makes it seem more manageable.
  3. If you’ve got to do the work of getting up a hill, it’s a lot more fun if you have someone to go with.

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