Well, it happened. I recently attempted my own personal “COVID” version of the Leadville 100 mountain bike race. This is known as the one of the hardest 100-mile races on the planet…and I failed to complete it.
When I set my mind to something, it is rare that I do not achieve my objective; however, this was one of those days. Although I did not reach my goal, I had a massive number of victories. At the end of the day, after 11 hours and 36 minutes in the bike saddle, I had completed 82 grueling miles, mostly over 10,000 feet, with a maximum height of 12,500 feet. This included over 8,200 feet of climbing; 8,000 calories burned; more than 300 ounces of water; 15 salt tablets; many nutrition bars; and the most amazing support possible from Reka; our friends, Laurie and Doug; our coach, Amanda; and other friends and family.
When the race was over and Doug loaded my bike into the truck, I experienced a cocktail of emotions. I was pleased to have come so far in my new, eight-month cycling career, yet pissed I had not completed my objective. I was frustrated because I felt fine, but my legs simply did not have anything left to continue pedaling.
The irony is that this was the exact location – at mile 32 in Reka’s 50-mile run – where she had made a very different choice to keep going, and as a result, finished the course. That made my decision to stop my race sting even more. The reality was I could have kept walking, but I still had 23 miles, darkness was coming, and the wildfire smoke in the valley was building. It was time to stop.
Amanda, my coach, was also doing the ride and was about 10 miles ahead of me. As a former world champion endurance runner and two-time winner of the Leadville 100 foot race, Amanda is a badass and knows what it means to endure the “suck” that happens late in an endurance race. Biking is not her discipline, but she wanted to do this ride anyway.
As Doug and I drove to the next location to support Amanda and meet Reka, I started coming to terms with my decision to stop this race and began planning for next year. I know now that I need to get into a regular muscle building and toning regimen. I realized that this needs to be a 20-month training experience, not an eight-month plan. I smiled at myself. I was still in my sweaty, salty gear and had a bruised ego…but I was creating a plan to come back in a year.
Recalling all the hours alone on my bike with my thoughts, the question of “Why would I do this?” kept creeping in. I realized it is not only to test myself physically, but also to push myself to see what I am capable of in my overall mental endurance. During this first round, I found my limit – and I did not like it. Going forward, it will motivate me to be more disciplined in many aspects of my life and will remind me to keep striving. When I was 100 pounds heavier and before my hip and knee replacement, I would not have thought getting this far was possible. I would never have gotten to this point if I had not been willing to try and possibly fail.
Those 11 hours alone in the saddle also gave me time. Time to reflect and truly embrace how fortunate I am. Even though we are living in a stressful world, it is filled with so much beauty, abundance, and endless possibilities. If we take the time to see it, we can soak it all up.
I hear some of you saying, “Okay, Kluver, enough. This is mainly a business blog. What the hell is the point?”
My point is this: As leaders of your organization, are you challenging yourself and your team to break boundaries, go beyond what is possible, and become the very best? Or are you a leader who only fails rarely or never (because failing sucks), does not push yourself or your team, and stays in comfort of the safe zone? If so, it is likely that you are being too conservative and leaving some of the best of your and your team’s untapped potential on the table.
Remember, sometimes extraordinary lives in the unreasonable. BE UNREASONBLE!
Are you a leader who avoids the possibility of failure? Do you want to learn how to challenge yourself to inspire your team to become the best they can be? Reach out to us today for a no-obligation consultation to learn more!