Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Begin with the End in Mind


Verrazano-Narrows Bridge
Hummm...That sounds great. In theory. But what if the end seems impossible to reach or even imagine? If you would have told me a little over a year ago that I would have ridden my bike 40 miles. In the rain.  Over the Verrazanno Bridge. I would have given you the side-eye and probably said sarcastically, "Ohh-Kay". 


Let me give you a little background. First, according to Wikipedia, "The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is a double-decked suspension bridge that connects the New York City boroughs of Staten Island and Brooklyn." Let me say that again, double-decked suspension bridge! I don't even like to drive a CAR over a bridge, let alone ride a bike over one.



Second, when I started riding my bike I literally could not ride 1 mile. I couldn't even ride a half of a mile. The first time I rode I fell. Twice!  I vividly remember riding my bike as a kid.  All. Day. Long. Not anymore. I will admit it, I was scared!

"We Fall Down, But We Get Up"

So, what changed?  I had a great coach; who was also a friend. She showed me how to turn so I wouldn't fall.  She rode beside me, encouraging me along the way.  I remember her saying, "Do you see that bench? Can you make it to that next bench?"  Then it was "Can you make it to the sign? There is a bench after that sign where we can stop and rest". "There are some horses around the turn. Let's make it to the horses."  I never saw any horses! 

We took pictures along the way celebrating my accomplishments. In the beginning, she was very encouraging. The more I rode, the better my endurance got.  I also noticed that she became a little more demanding: "Sheila, you can do this. We are only going to rest for 3 minutes. Let's go!" 



Celebrate Milestones
             
Why am I writing about riding a bike?  Because there are so many parallels between my learning to ride again and teaching. 

Everything is Better with Friends


If I had tried to do it on my own I think, no, I KNOW I would never have done it!  I needed someone to show me how. I needed someone to encourage me. I need someone to push me. More importantly,  I needed someone to BELIEVE that I could do it in the first place.




Me and Kahliah



I also needed someone who I had a relationship with, a connection, someone who knew me.  She was patient. She showed me how. She did it with me, right beside me. Kind of like guided practice. 













Checking Progress
She encouraged me. She monitored my progress and gave me specific feedback.  Not everything all at once, mind you.  Just enough to move me along. Not only did she monitor my progress, but she shared my results with me: "You're doing great! You just rode 3 miles! You are riding 9 miles per hour. (That's still my preferred speed, by the way. . . Growth Mindset!) 

In the end, I was able to do it. Independently. She gave me something that can never be taken away from me.  The knowledge that I can be successful at what I work hard at. 



I Did It!





And yes, I really rode 40 miles in New York with thousands of other bikers in the Five Boros Tour, In the rain.  When I crossed that finish line, I wanted to cry; I actually think I did?













Later that summer I rode 50 miles in Florida. I still haven't ridden a century . . . YET!
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