Tougher than you thought.

We were riding to Pocatello, Idaho on a 103 mile day. After about half the mileage was over it started to get very hot.
And windy.
And hilly.
Small hills, but sizable when you’ve been going for many miles and you’re going through your water in no time. It was around mile 80 or 85 when I started to get all sorts of exhausted. I was falling slightly behind and it was taking all of me to keep moving forward. I really just wanted to be there and be thankful to the world for air conditioning.

As we started to climb over a hill, I went to my drops and looked down at the ground right in front of me in normal Alex climbing fashion. Suddenly I noticed I had crossed over a spray-painted word on the ground, ‘tougher’. As we kept climbing up the hill, more words appeared and wrote out ‘Tougher than you thought’. One of my fellow riders commented, “That’s accurate.”

I thought it insanely coincidental that that was placed there at that point in the day when I wanted to give up. I felt very thankful to whoever it was that had graffitied the middle of the street. When we climbed more hills that day and fought more wind and heat and when each of the last miles felt like forever, I just repeated that phrase in my head over and over. I thought of all the things I had accomplished on my bike before that, and how it would feel to be done with this challenging day. I thought of all of the things I had been wrong about, like how I once thought I wasn’t capable of climbing mountains. But I had, and this day wouldn’t see me give up.

I think when most of us look back on our lives, we realize that there were many moments or time periods when we came out stronger and wiser. We fought through it and we made it to the next day and the next after that. We were tougher than we thought. Sometimes it helps to be reminded.

I think it’s important, too, to be proud of yourself. Be happy and proud that you made it and that your fight was worthwhile and that it was you who persevered. There’s no doubt that often you need others to help you through and to be your support, but ultimately you also have to believe in yourself. Know that you are indeed tough enough.

Comments (4)
  • Walder's Mom says:

    Alex, your blog posts are great — they really help me understand what the team is doing. Thanks for writing.

  • Alex's Big Sis says:

    Well, that made me tear up, as usual! :) So incredibly proud of your amazing strength and drive, as well as that of all of your teammates!! Go, go, go!! <3 Jess

  • John Knicker says:

    Grandma’s encouragement I’d bet … (didn’t know she spray painted though)….

  • mmarek Maggie Marek says:

    Fantastic post! Congrats on making it this far on your journey :)

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