Roger Friesen and his biking team

04 May Tip 2 Tip – What IF I could? :: Part 2 of 3

As a sport psychology consultant and professor of sport psychology, I know that setting goals, and understanding and learning how to overcome barriers, are concepts we deal with every day. Much of sport psychology is about learning to unlock human potential, and learning what it means to be tough: physically fit, mentally and emotionally robust. I have always been interested in applied performance, and as such, I promise my students and any clients I work with that anything we discuss from a performance perspective, all the strategies, concepts and ideas, are things I have personally explored and applied to my own life. And so…. I consistently seek out challenge, ways of testing my limits, my barriers, my potential.

Slowly and surely the Island ride was taking shape. I decided would cycle the entire length in one go, but when? After exploring several possibilities I landed on June 21st, summer solstice! A perfect date on the calendar with an added bonus of having the longest amount of daylight hours, and a perfect way to celebrate the start of summer. Now all I had to do was get my body ready for this challenge and sort out logistics. I also had to make a public declaration. Setting goals is important, and making a public declaration makes a goal that much more powerful. Sharing the goal with others helps to ensure accountability. Once stated, it is much harder to back out! The first declaration was to my wife Monica. This was followed by declarations to several others. Initially, the ride was going to be a solo effort with Monica providing moral and vehicle support. In a very short time, however, other friends and family had come on board, each with their own reason for getting involved. One friend, Bert Griffioen, would join me for the entire distance. Monica and three others wanted to ride a portion of the route.

Monica, Bert and I arrived in Port Hardy on Friday, June 19, well past midnight. At 8:30 am the following day, Bert and I set out from Port Hardy on a damp and chilly morning. I was twitching with excitement. As we started riding, I turned to Bert and said, “If this was a book I would be tempted to turn to the last pages to see how the story ends.” Of course, I had to wait awhile to learn the ending. In the meantime, we had some miles to cover and scenery to enjoy – which we did; the North Island highway is gorgeous. Typically, we dash from one place to the next in the comfort of our cars, in which we are insulated and isolated from our natural world. And because we are generally in a hurry, and so focussed on the destination we don’t observe or take note of what we are passing by at any given moment. On a bike, however, because one travels slowly, there is ample time to observe not only vistas but also smaller and more subtle points of interest, like the sound of song birds, the sight of flora and fauna at the road sides, evidence of wind in the trees and grasses, and so on.

Approximately 6 hours into the ride, and roughly halfway between Port Hardy and Campbell River, our teammates Yoshi, Wanita and Alistair joined us. It was a lovely boost to see the vehicle with their smiling faces appear on what had been a very quiet and empty highway. From here on in, Bert and I were joined at different times by Monica or Wanita or Alistair or Yosh or a combination of the above.

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