Mental Fortitude

Today our son sent us these words of wisdom:

What is going to be hard is the mental challenge. The desire to stop when you make a wrong turn and the exhausting mental struggle to convince yourself to keep going. However, overcoming the mental struggles, pushing on and completing what you set out to do — that is what makes the journey so rewarding. It makes the adventure personal and it makes it about so much more than riding a bike. 

He couldn’t be more right. The heat continues to be a challenge for Eric. Within minutes of starting to pedal sweat is pouring from every pore in his body, soaking his shirt, head wrap, cycling gloves, shorts, etc. After about 10 km of pedaling, the soaked clothes become insulators, trapping the heat in his body…the heat then zapping his energy. After brief rests and rehydration the cooling effects of sweat evaporating from his body last for about 2 km and then temperatures begin to rise again. In this case, the mental challenge to keep riding is trumped by his body’s automatic need to shut down in self-defense.

As horrible as this physical condition sounds, we are not pressured by deadlines or short weekends. We can take all the time and rest breaks we need. Iced white coffee, pressed sugar cane water, hydration tablets, and a loving wife who fans her husband’s face like a Greek goddess hovering over her god, carries his sogging wet biking shirt so he is not burdened by the extra weight, and straps his sweat drenched camelback on her back so he can cool off, make the final destination seem closer.

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Pure sugar Cane – A delicious, natural energy drink

What makes today much more than riding a bike were the encounters along the way. A kind stranger insisted on paying for our breakfast, our friend Rickee met us about 10 km outside of Butterworth and led us along a busy highway to the ferry terminal and through Penang, and our small boutique hotel offered free cold beers on the rooftop garden overlooking the Straits of Malacca. Topping off the day was a delicious barbecued red snapper and black pepper tiger prawns at the Red Garden hawker court.

So, Alex, we will keep pushing on to keep living our dream.