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  • Writer's pictureMarty Jalove

The Bike Ride

When I first started courting Kristi, she spoke about her yearly cycling adventure. It was a fundraising ride for the American Lung Association.

We were just beginning something beautiful, and I was interested in anything that would foster her affection. So naturally, I asked if I could join her on this jaunt. She eagerly agreed to allow me to accompany her on her adventure.

And quite an adventure it would be. The best way to explain this excursion is that once a year, she, and her band of biking buffs, grease their gears, fill their tires, and pedal their way North to Lake Geneva. This was a torturous trip filled with monstrous mountains, viscous valleys, and terrifying turns. 50 miles each day - 3 days in a row - 150 miles in all! An insurmountable undertaking for a guy proud of pedaling a paltry 12 miles a month.

It was 8 months till the torment, so that meant I could wait 7 months before practicing my pedaling. But during those delightful days of dating, my dainty damsel took a fall. She mangled her meniscus and had to brace herself from biking. It was horrific for her, but marvelous for me. I would still receive the accolades for agreeing to go without having to break a sweat. All was wonderful till she spoke those wicked words, “I am so glad that you’ll be riding FOR ME this year!”

There was no getting out of it now. A new goal was set for me. During the day I rode the flatlands of Arlington Heights; not knowing what waited for me in the highlands of Wisconsin. And at night I would nurse my gorgeous gal, and little by little, we fell in love.

10, 15, then 20 miles; my endurance increased, and my stamina soared. Little by little, mile after mile I created the confidence I would need to conquer this conquest.

Finally, it was the first day of the trifecta of terror. We started together but this pack of peddlers parted quickly. As the mean and lean sped away, the slower strollers swaggered, sweat, and stayed together.

Then we hit “The Hill.”

I remember turning a corner and suddenly facing an asphalt wall that stretched to the sky. Nothing I had done to date had prepared me for fighting these 90 degrees of gravity. It happened so quick; I didn’t think I could quit. I grasped the gearshift and dropped it in low. I bent down over the handlebars, pushing, and pushing with thighs on fire, and little by little I went higher and higher.

I remember looking just 10, 15, then 20 feet in front of me. Setting small plausible goals to reach the possible peak.

And I made it!

I was exhausted, beat, but also proud. And Kristi was proud of me. That first hill gave me everything that I needed to finish the day. And that day gave me everything that I needed to finish the weekend.

I don’t ride much anymore, but every time I see an unbeatable obstacle in front of me, I think about that hill. I break my goals into smaller segments and beat them one by one. Whether it’s doing what needs to be done to win the love of my life, practicing for the big day, or facing The Hill…little by little gets the job done.

As seen in Stroll, Hawthorn Woods CC Magazine. Follow “Bacon Bits with Master Happiness” on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, Amazon Music, Audible, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.


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