Every morning like most of us, I drag a very tired body out of bed to get ready to go to work. I check my resting heart rate, check my weight, eat breakfast then scrub my teeth, however it’s at this point as I look at my reflection in the mirror, my mind asks me ‘that question’. Am I going to be good enough? While I push the toothbrush around my mouth, my mind goes into overdrive with a battle inside my head: if you work hard, yes………you have no chance you’re too tired…..it’s not about winning, it’s about enjoying yourself…….you’ve won before why can’t you win again?……..but this is at the top level and you’re not good enough! As I switch back to reality gargling mouthwash, that question flies round my head leaving bright burning lines through my mind like a firework in the night sky before I spit it out and get on my bike to ride to work.
The first few pedal stokes are always a mix of feelings, firstly my legs feel tired and heavy, then I feel good because I love riding my bike, my legs wake up and I try and build up my cadence so I’m riding at 90rpm. Sometimes it comes easy floating along spinning freely, sometimes I battle my whole ride to work just to hold on to 90rpm with heavy legs. Working at Bike Revolution, we get folk coming in all the time looking for the right bike for them, some just want a bike to lose weight, some want to bike to get from a to b, some guys are in to chat about their new bike or bit of kit to make them ride faster, or a sportive result they’re proud of from the weekend. I feel sometimes they are looking for me to say ‘well done’, or give them the Stevo ‘great time that, I’d be pleased with that!’ And I mean it, they know what I do and how hard I train, I’ll ride with some of these lads on a Sunday morning and push the pace a bit from time to time, but I know I’m no great rider, I just train as hard as I can and see the results. But during that chat comes a question which I’ve gotten use to answering ‘so what’s next Steve?’ What race are you doing? where is this leading?……..the Rio Paralympic’s……..gold medal! And then comes the bit that is the hardest to deal with, when that person says ‘oh you’ll go to Rio, you’ll win gold’.
Now I’m sure that person really means what they say, however that’s when my mind starts working overtime with that same question that I wake up with every morning. As I smile back and say things like ‘it’s a long way to go, there is loads of work to be done’, inside I’m negative, overwhelmed by the sheer size of the task at hand and the number of variables that go with it. As that person leaves, it takes a while to wrestle that question to the back of my mind and try and forget it. Sometimes I can have that conversation 3 times a day and it’s the same every time, ‘I can see you now, gold medal around your neck…..’ It doesn’t get an easier the more you get told.
I’m the kind of person who sets goals, makes lists of jobs needing done, ticking them off as I get through them. If you asked Caroline my wife and my friends they would say I’m single minded, I pour myself into whatever goal I’m working towards at that time, everything else goes on hold. An example, for 10 years my life was climbing, I came back from El Cap and the focus shifted to cycling, I’ve only climbed twice in the last year and a half.
As I’ve gotten older, the goals I’ve set seemed to have been bigger and far more challenging than I really want them to be. Obviously I want to achieve the goals I set, but again the older I get, I seem to enjoy focusing on the journey rather than the outcome. I still want to win, still want to achieve that goal, that dream, I enjoy the journey but don’t get me wrong I will completely freak out on the start line of a race or standing at the bottom of a climb looking up. But in these moments of panic it’s that same question in the front of my mind ‘am I going to be good enough?’
Maybe it’s a question that deeper down I love asking myself……