“You Have to Want to Do It”

Group shot race mania

Students at Mental Toughness Seminar

Mental Toughness

Mental Toughness Presenters Karen Smyers, James Olson, John Young, and Sean Riley

“You have to want to do it.”

That was the overall message that ten of our cycling tour students heard on Sunday, March 25th at Sun Multisport’s Annual Race Mania Summit and Expo in Boston, MA.

Bringing our students to this event was to get them in the mindset of an endurance athlete so that they can begin to view themselves as part of this extraordinary and inspiring community.

The other big thread among the seminars we attended was mental toughness.  Former Navy Seal James Olson shared how he developed mental toughness through Seal training, “we all have mental toughness, but have to constantly work on it…move through the pain, don’t accept it.”

My favorite quote from paratriathlete and marathoner John Young was, “pain is inevitable and suffering is a choice. You have to want to do it and you will figure out a way.” John Young was the first ever person with dwarfism to complete an Ironman triathlon in addition to being a three time finisher of the Boston Marathon.

Ironman Triathlon World Champion Karen Smyers shared that you have to “learn how to get your mind to work for you and that setbacks have silver linings.”  Her big setbacks included getting hit by an 18-wheeler while riding her bike and receiving a cancer diagnosis. She survived both and is still racing, coaching, and living life to the fullest.

“Show up every day to your life” was my other favorite quote of the day courtesy of Meredith Atwood, 4x Ironman triathlete, podcaster, and writer.  This makes total sense but we don’t do it for a variety of reasons which ultimately holds us back from achieving what we want to achieve.

We are looking forward to seeing how these important nuggets of wisdom from fellow endurance athletes will shape our thinking as we work towards our huge goal of cycling to Quebec City and back.

Heard in the car on the drive home, “I think I want to do a triathlon.”

 

 

2018 Brings a Focus on Bicycles

We survived the “bomb cyclone” snowstorm here in western New Hampshire and the temperature today is a balmy 3F (-13F with the wind chill) but I’ll ignore that. This is much warmer than Monday’s low of -29F.  What better thing to focus on in my Global Studies class than studying the importance of bicycles and planning a June cycling tour?

This term my high school Global Studies class is focused on the importance of bicycles in the global community. People ride bikes for sport, health, transportation, education, commerce, medical care, among myriad other reasons.  What sparked this focus in my colleague, Story Graves, wanting to organize a student cycling tour to Canada. I had an open block where I needed to teach a class this term so we offered a Global Studies class that culimates in a June cycling tour from Orford, NH to Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. Students actually signed up for the class and some have already committed to training and fundraising for the 600-mile round trip ride. Our goal for the tour is to challenge and inspire student learning, confidence, and global awareness.

While I have been riding bikes as a triathlete for past 10 years, I had not deeply considered how important bikes are for everyday life in many parts of the world. Living in a rural area means that I drive. EVERYWHERE.  My bike is used solely for workouts, racing, or social events.  I even drive my bike to places where I want to ride.  Teaching this class has opened the door to a new emphasis on cycling as life for millions of people worldwide.

Here is one story that changed my thinking. Enjoy and stay tuned for updates on our learning and global cycling adventure.

http://www.wbur.org/onlyagame/2017/12/22/world-bicycle-relief

Photo credit: http://www.wbur.org. Story by Karen Given