I sat on my mountain bike at the base of the trail in the majestic mountains of Park City Utah mentally preparing for the journey head and excited for the adventure. Going onto the trail I knew my trek would be divided into two segments, the climb and the decent.
During the climb I knew what I need to do; accepted it would be a challenge that I had to grind out, put my head down and carried on. It was interesting that once I made that distinction I was able to let my mind wonder, trying NOT to focus on the task at hand but mentally be somewhere else so the time would pass and the break up the monotony of the journey. Even though it was cold there was no wind and with the physical work kept me at a comfortable temperature; I really had a very enjoyable ride up.
We climb to the summit telling ourselves that the ride down is the easy part and the payday for our hard word.
Interesting things happened on the way down. Moving at high speeds on narrow tracks with obstacles strewn about the trail required intense focus and all my attention. I was no longer able to check out and daydream through the ride; I had to be sharp and in the moment to avoid taking a spill at high speeds. When in open areas flying down the hill the wind was now a factor, whipping by me and making my hands and fingers numb. This unforeseen obstacle made it hard to work the brakes and threw me a challenge I did not expect but had to deal with. The muddy areas I encountered on the way up were now problematic, because of my high rate of speed I was constantly in danger of losing control. On the way up I never gave them a second look as my pace was slow and consistent and they had no impact on me. On the downward section parts of the trail were still covered with 12-18 inches of hard packed snow. Each one forcing me to stop my downhill progress, dismount, clear the obstacle and begin again. After continuous climbing for almost 2 hours the constant “momentum breaks” of having to get off the bike became challenging and frustrating very quickly. On the climb dismounting to carry the bike over a fallen tree was no issue, I had now significant momentum so starting and stopping was no longer easy.
When we are chasing goals or in the “climb” of our life’s journey we fantasize about reaching the summit and it will be all downhill from there. We need to always keep in mind that sometimes when we reach our goals, develop new skills or take on new a responsibility that becomes the point that the real challenge begins. Have you ever had a client or member that decided they were going to take control of their fitness, change their eating do amazing for 1-2 months then fall right off track when a holiday or special event threw them out of their routine? The ability to climb is valuable for success as long as it is paired with the ability to accept and deal with unexpected challenges and obstacles as we encounter them. If you find yourself in the grind right now or about to begin your climb, be excited to reach the summit but do so with a realization and understanding that “downhill” does not equal easy street. Be prepared for the challenges and momentum breaks that will arise, plan ahead so when the time comes we are prepared to deal with these obstacles.