How do I Get to the Top of that
Five weeks ago today I was cycling along La Via Venezia
(the Venice Road) at the end of a 900-mile ride from Paris,
via six countries and four mountain ranges in fourteen
The last day was easy - only fifty-odd miles and almost
completely flat - but the three of us had climbed some
monster hills as we crossed the Vosges (France), the Black
Forest (Germany) and then into the Alps as we passed
through Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria and finally
At times our progress was painfully slow, and at others it
was scarily fast!
We had hot sunshine, strong headwinds, warm and very
cold rain, thunderstorms and hail, and we reached
the snow line as we crossed our highest pass, the
Timmelsjoch, between Austria and Italy:
That was the highest point on the trip, and the longest
climb - it took me three hours to cycle the last
20km or so to the summit.
We had done a series of smaller climbs of between one and
two hours in the preceding days before we reached the big
one, and our fitness improved as we went, but it was still
a long way up!
We all made it to the top, though.
There were four reasons we were able to do it:
We wanted to do it
We prepared for it
We built up to it
We kept going
Note that I don't mention 'talent' or
'gifts' or even any kind of help. I'm not a talented cyclist.
I'm healthy and quite fit but I'm not especially strong. My
knees hurt sometimes.
On the trip we encouraged each other,
believed in each other (but most importantly, believed in
ourselves) and then at the bottom of each climb we said "See
you at the top".
And we did. The hills got bigger, our legs
got stronger and our self belief grew with each climb.
We were lucky to have the opportunity to
make the trip, but there was no luck involved in actually
being able to do it.
In the end that came down to point number
4 - We kept going.
You can find out more about the trip, and
the preparations, on my cycling blog 'Be Stronger
Tomorrow' - including why I called it that!