Biking the Bear

19 September 2016 Written by   Published in Peaks Financial Fitness

My husband and I have a goal to “Bike the Bear” at the end of each summer. This route is a 52 mile bike ride around Bear Lake. This is our 4th year riding it, but we hadn’t trained. By the end of July, I started thinking that we were not going to be able to do it. It seemed to bit too late in the season to start training. However, we figured that it wouldn’t hurt to train for it. We started by using the schedule that Ty used in Boy Scouts when they earned their cycling merit badge that requires a 50 mile bike ride. The first ride was 5 miles, and we felt sore. We worked up to 14 miles, which isn’t as far as the scouts usually train.

Last Saturday, we biked the bear. The ride challenged us with hills, winds, and leg cramps. However, it was a gorgeous fall day with breathtaking views of the lake and the mountains. When we returned, my son said, “Mom, you biked 50 miles!” I told him that we actually biked 52 miles. That’s when it sunk it that we had done it! I wasn’t sure that we would.

Have you ever felt like it’s too late financially to reach your goals? Maybe you wish you had started earlier to save for retirement, to start a business, or to save for a dream trip. I have felt this way; but, we can defeat these feelings. We can change, and start to work towards our goals. Here’s a few things I learned through our experience biking the bear:

Have a goal

We had to start with a goal. Achieving goals is often a pain. I experienced a lot of pain while biking the bear. It was so important to have this goal set. If we hadn’t, we wouldn’t have tried. Achieving goals isn’t glamorous. The finish line is great, but the journey there is a tough one filled with personal sacrifice and struggles. As I pedaled, I thought about all the things I say to my kids, “This is a good hurt. It’s making you stronger, the faster you hike, the faster you’ll be done.” Now I know why they are seem annoyed when I say that. The goal kept us going. Even if we hadn’t reached the goal, having a goal was vital.

Don’t go it alone

My husband encouraged me, waited for me, and carried all of extra clothes that I had layered on so that I wouldn’t be cold. My father-in-law supported us by watching our kids. There were quite a few people riding around the lake. It was great to know that we were not alone. At one of the aid stations set up for the race, a man gave me two thumbs up. While we weren’t a part of their race, we just happened to be riding at the same time. Every time I saw someone else along the way, I felt encouraged to keep pedaling. Financially, it helps me to have a support group that is also working towards their financial goals. They encourage me to keep going.

Focus on small goals

By the time we reached our 30 mile mark, my legs were really hurting. I had taken some pain reliever at the halfway point, but it hadn’t started working. We were on the south side of the lake, which has a narrow shoulder, and the wind picked up. I had to fight off the discouraging feelings. I felt like calling for a ride. So, I made little goals. The first one that I made was to ride to a barn up ahead. Before long, I realized that we had passed it, and I moved to the next landmark. I kept finding landmarks and riding to that spot until I had pushed through that discouraging section.

Recognize progress along the way

When I felt discouraged, I didn’t let myself think about having 20 more miles to go. That was too overwhelming. I picked an object that I could see, and I went that far and then picked another landmark to make small progress. By the time we reached mile 40, the pain reliever was working, and we took one more break before the home stretch. What if we hadn’t accomplished our goal? Was the training a waste? No. It was time spent making memories. The exercise helped us become stronger. The training also humbled us to realize that we needed to eat better and exercise more. We all are making progress along the way to our goals. We have big financial goals that take decades to accomplish. The other day, I looked at the progress we have made in the past decade. That encourages me not to quit.

Believe that you can accomplish your goal. Sometimes I don’t want to try because I feel that I can’t do it. On my ride, I listened to the Stephen Covey’s audio tape 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He taught that we are not our feelings: we don’t have to let them be in charge. We don’t have to be defined by what we feel. This has become a very powerful concept to me. Financially, we also need to believe that we will be able to achieve our goals.

Have you ever felt like it’s too late to do something? I often have feelings of being too late. Recently, I heard someone mention about their life being over because they are in their 30s. I’m sure they were teasing, but that was a depressing thought to me. I still have a lot of life to live—even though I’m in my 30’s. Do you ever feel like it’s too late in your financial season to try? Please share your financial goals. Wasatch Peaks Credit Union is cheering you on as you work towards financial goals!

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