“If you can’t get out of it it, get into it.”
A number of my friends and Stagecoach 400 riders have heard me preach this– usually in the middle of a hike-a-bike in the middle of the night, in the middle of the desert somewhere or in a mountain range with a horizon that seems impossibly far away.
The phrase came to me as a young Airman on my first deployment to Kuwait in 1998, when a wise old Staff Sergeant (probably in his early 30’s!) shared it with all us young guys as a way to boost morale. The concept there was to help take our minds off the comforts of home a continent away and encourage us to immerse ourselves in the mission.
It worked. We reminded each other to “get into it” constantly, and we did indeed commit ourselves to the job of getting helicopters off the ground.
I’ve kept the words with me ever since; something to ponder when the going gets tough.
The mental exercise obviously applies to our life challenges, but we as cyclists sharpen our skills and practice “getting into it” when we’re out on the bike– when we find ourselves at the bottom of a 3000 ft climb on a hot day, the first thing we do is assess the situation (Do I have enough calories on board? Maybe I should sip some more water…) then form a plan (keep the exertion at midlevel until I hit the treeline where the temp will be a bit cooler) tune out what doesn’t help (yeah, the sand is soft, so what? This is where I am and I have to ride up this mountain– might as well crush it!).
Hard riding reminds us another important lesson– You’ve got this.