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A story from Neville Duncan, Sports Development Manager for Young People – and my best friend too – a story about consciously choosing to carry on, at the very moment you feel you can’t…………

I was attempting a coast to coast bike ride in one day – 134 miles on a mountain bike – on my 40thbirthday.

Waskerley Way

I’d done 72 miles and climbed 2000ft – just past half way. It was dark, cold and miserable, with a strong head wind, and big hills to come. I was emotionally low and lacking confidence.

I told myself:-

“6 months of training was going to be wasted – You’re going to let down your family – and yourself – Your legs have gone Duncan – you’re on a steep decline to exhaustion”

2 miles to go until my next stop – starting a climb of 1000ft to the highest point of my ride – “I won’t get up there”, I told myself. “You’re tired, hungry and broken”.

I got despondent and tearful, yet chose to carry on and somehow managed to get to the next stop.

I was met by my dad and son, who had been my brilliant support crew since we started at 4.40am. I didn’t tell them how I was feeling. I was embarrassed about the idea of giving up.

This tiny village had a bike shop – bizarre to say the least!  Somehow seeing my family and the bike shop, triggered something in me:-

“If I can get an energy drink, stuff my face with jelly babies and have a rest, I might be okay?”

After 10 minutes, a quick oil of my chain by the shop owner, and a sudden sugar rush, I was aware I WAS choosing to carry on – “I’m ready to go” – so off I went.

So did I finish? – you bet I did 🙂 – 12 and half hours after leaving Whitehaven, I was in Tynemouth! – I  had done 134 miles – my longest and greatest achievement yet on my mountain bike.

So how did I ever get to the shop AND then get up the 1000ft climb? I don’t know.

Maybe personal traits were shining through – stubbornness, courage, and pride. Maybe seeing my support network was enough – with some body fuel too !

Henry Ford said this – “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal” – I agree – I’d somehow become dismayed by the overall aim, instead of the immediate goal.

I did consciously choose to just look at the next hill, before that shop – and after it – and if I could get up that, then it was downhill for a bit – suddenly it was doable again.

I think that in small bold steps – anything is possible – and it doesn’t feel as scary.

CONSCIOUS CHOICE – How are you consciously choosing to stay focussed on that immediate goal? Have you got a great support network and planned good rest and fuel stops too, for your adventures in life?

Neville Duncan, Newcastle, UK


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