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Pressing On: 100 Miles on a Road Bike

When you’re about to quit, things just start happening…  


My friends and I have been into road cycling for nearly a decade now. Weekly group rides throughout the year, and one or two rides down to the FL Keys.


This year, like some of the others, five of us planned an annual 100-mile ride from Miami to the FL keys. That was planned for the weekend of Dec 16th. Hotels were booked, the route was nailed down, and a quantity of rest stops was agreed on. Then, things started happening.

A week before the ride, one of the riders fell during a practice ride and fractured his collarbone. Another couldn’t make it due to family reasons. That left only the three of us. The three-rider-trip wasn’t ideal but doable. We kept the plan.  


Then, a few days before the trip, the weather changed and FL had a lot of rain and +25 mph winds… frustrated, we had to cancel. After the week of storm-like weather and high winds, our third rider, Stephan, was then out on vacation. That left just the two of us - David and me.


One of our other road warriors, Daniel, committed to support and ride with us for up to 55 miles. If you ride, you know a larger group makes a huge difference over long distances. The more the merrier!


Aspiring to keep the distance at 100 miles, we had to plan the ride locally for December 23rd. Now, the deal was – Daniel rides with us the first 55 miles, David and I go for the 100. The 23rd weather seemed solid and set for the ride!

The day of the ride:


6.05am: wake up time, breakfast, getting dressed, getting the bike fixed to the car.


7.05am: while driving to the meeting point in Miami, I get a text from David – “it’s raining here, no ride…”. After all the prep, caffeine, and breakfast, I decide to keep driving. Texting back to the group that I’m on a road and we’re doing it, the weather forecast wasn’t too bad. 


7.15am: As I’m flying over I-95, it starts raining, then clears, then rains again. Not great. I still want to ride but need to comply with the weather. 


7.30am: I’m parked at David’s and it a little too dark, not raining just not very light… yet. I’m checking the radars on 3 different apps, even starting to consider coming back the following day due to the weather, etc. At that point, David and Daniel are radio-silent… 100 miles on my own would be a stretch, but the plan is the plan. Got to do it.


In a few seconds, I get a text from Daniel, “I’m 10 mins out”. David responds, “ok”, and just like that we’re all back!


7.50am: Here we go!


The weather got much better, even sunny at times with occasional drizzles, but not too bad.


As we get through the first 40 miles, David’s bike having technical issues. He drops off. Daniel and I finish the first 55 miles. By that time, David fixes his bike, has a power lunch, and gets out to keep on going with me. Here we go. 45 miles left!


I’ll spare you all the details. The gist of the next 25-30 miles is a combination of slowing down, taking 3 breaks, stopping for some food at a coffee shop, and David doing a lion’s share of pulling (blocking the wind). Given his expansive lunch, I couldn’t say that wasn’t warranted!!


Mile 82, I get a hip cramp. Have to stop, David keeps on going home. He’s done at his 80th mile.


After a few minutes of stretching and walking the pain off, I get back on bike and keep riding. 18 more miles to go, quitting is not an option.


When I get back to Miami, I’m at the 94th mile. 6 miles more to go. Then, right by Starbucks on Bayshore, I get a wild cramp next to the right hip flexor again… have to stop. Getting one of my empty water bottles and start rolling it over the muscle. Five minutes later, I’m back on the bike and keep going.


A mile later, another cramp, now it’s left hamstring. Have to stop again. This one wasn’t pretty. Even trying to stretch, I get muscle tightness that I feel is leading to other cramps in my hamstrings and quads. Never had that happen to me before…


At that point, I’m 4-5 miles away from the finish. Getting back on the bike, taking it slow as any effort is felt closer to another cramp. Going from 16 mph and then slowly back to 18-20+ mph.


3.30pm: No more cramps. I finish the 100.


Why share this story? Definitely not to brag about the 100 miles. Some of our peers ride 150-200 miles over a single weekend. Our Saturday rides range anywhere from 50 to 75 miles as well.  


The purpose of this post was to show and compare how the events preceding the ride and happening during it are similar to how unpredictable life and business success could be. Without setting a target mileage and not giving it our best, we would probably not have made it happen.


At times, the most known and sure path breaks down, and those who we seem to rely on the most do not come through. Being persistent and pressing on even when it seems that nothing is working as expected, creates something unexpected that sets things right the way and where you needed them.


This post isn’t just about perseverance and not giving up. It’s about recognizing the obstacles and pressing on toward the 100th mile in business and life.


Happy Holidays!!


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