Monday, January 28, 2008

Reaching the top

Whenever I share my vision of making a trip to Goa on a cycle from my home town in Pune (500+ km), almost everybody has the same expression on their faces - as if saying "have you lost it", "isn't it better & more fun to go to Goa in a car, lounge on the beach, down beer bottles by the dozens and eat like a pig", envy (by those people who would actually want to be seen doing that but actually don't have the energy to do it, or possibly wont be allowed by spouses :-), family etc).

On many occasions I tried to show them my side of the coin...the journey is the reward, food is not the only way to celebrate, just undertaking such an endeavour will expose me to and teach me a lot about myself and the geography, etc. But in vain.

Anyways this journey is all for myself.

As part of my endeavour to improve my capacity to cycle long distances, I would ride small hills, flats for long distances and work out in the gym regularly to build up my strength. Many a times I would think about the several ghats (mountainous roads) that I would have to cover in my journey to Goa and doubt myself if I would be able to climb those steep roads on my cycle. I would recall all those times when I have found even the car struggling to get over those roads (i have driven to goa several times in my little wonder).

Near my house there is bopdeo ghat which leads to a village called Saswad. The top of the Ghat would be around 10 kms from my house, a more or less continuous climb with the last 5 kms really going all the up in a Z shaped carve in the mountain. One day, I decided to overcome my doubt and work towards reaching the top.

I started by breaking down the distance into 4 parts and worked towards doing this in 4 weeks. I set myself the goal of covering more and more distance each time I rode this route, once a week. On other days (with appropriate rest days thrown in) I would cross train by gymming, treadmilling and riding the cycle on flats (sprints and quick climbs on smaller hills).

Guess what, I actually made it to the top in 4 weeks...something I thought I might never be able to do and would have to walk the distance in my journey. No doubt it wasn't easy (I had to do about 5 kms on the lowest gear and had my legs bursting out of my shorts)...but the reward of being on the top and having reached there without a car was amazing. Now the next logical thing is to set a higher and longer goal.

I learnt a lot from this experience.
One, that we are limited by what we think we can do rather than what we actually can do. We actuall build a wall around our selves simply by our thoughts which are limiting and become a self fulfilling prophecy.
Second, breaking down a goal into smaller doable goals and also allowing your self to adapt to the new situations and stresses makes it easy to achieve the big goal (read...I would have failed if i had attempted to do this in one attempt, without preparation and possibly would have given up totally thinking its not for me).
Third, my experience with the bike can be applied to all activities of life - personal, professional, society, family etc. Set lofty goals, break them down, go after them.

Life is about abundance.

1 comment:

paresh thakkar said...

Sunil,

its been a long time dream of achieving the same...cycling/roughing it out to some long distance destination...well, it seems you have converted that distant dream to a possibility...

hats off...
do let me know when u really reach GOA on cycle...it would be a joyful moment which i would like to share...

paresh thakkar.