Digging Deep

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My son was born a cyclist. He was born the year Texan Lance Armstrong started winning overall accolades at the Tour de France. He was born the year this generation of America realized cycling existed. Morgan is 17 years old, now. He’s a senior in high school. He has only been interested in reading cycling books, and since there are very few cycling books, he re-reads those that exist over and over and over… He has only been interested in endurance sports for the sake of improving his cycling. And, when it’s his turn to pick on Family Movie Nights, it will inevitably be a cycling documentary or movie.

Even with all of this passion and focus, even with the combination of determination and pretty gifted athleticism, this past weekend Morgan gained his first official podium spot! Silver medalist and so happy!

He has won medals and trophies before–mostly in cross country and other distance running races–but he always saw that as cross training for cycling. Watching him take his 2nd place podium spot this weekend, was different. It was the culmination of 12 years of training. Bicycles and broken bones. Trying to find cycling jerseys to fit his little kiddo frame back before there were little kiddos obsessed with cycling and looking official every time he jumped on his bike. Trying to find some obscure cycling-based book or movie for holidays because there aren’t that many to choose from. Trying to afford gas and lodging and food and time for rides and races that are virtually never close to home.

I would love to know how many hours Morgan has racked up on the bike so far in his lifetime. Lots of kids ride their bike, my son does it differently. He doesn’t ride his bike as a means to a destination–he’s not getting on it to ride over to Ben’s house to play football or soccer. He’s on the bike because that’s exactly where he wants to be, for hours most days. I would love to know how many hours Morgan has racked up studying and planning and strategizing.

All this being said, as his #1 passion for his entire life, just now achieving that 2nd place finish may not sound all that impressive. You may be reading and wondering why he didn’t focus all of that energy on running, since he has had much success in running. You may be reading and wondering how he can compete in race after race, year after year, and never give up. The reason is simple: each race was a step in the journey, not the destination. Morgan analyzes his performance and bases his wins and losses on his own history and expectations. For this reason, I’ve seen him as happy with a fifth place finish at the end of a multi-day stage race (where there are multiple races of different kinds over the course of multiple days), as he is when he gets a flat tire at the critical end of a fast race where he’s dominated but ends up not even finishing the race.

Staying solely focused on one thing takes a certain kind of mindset. It takes an ability to see past surface victories and ripples on the water. It takes the determination to dig deep and take everything into account. When you see your life goals as a puzzle, each training ride, each book or clinic, each recovery practice, each meal choice, each purchase, each race is a piece of this puzzle. Every piece has a part to play, each piece is important.

Next year, Morgan goes off to college. One of his puzzle pieces is to gain a place on a university cycling team, and every school he’s interested in has one. As his mother, of course I wish that for him, as well, and think any team would be smart to welcome this kid with such heart, such determination, and such depth to their team. But…I’m his mom. Realistically, I don’t know if his track record is strong enough. However, I’m not worried. College team or no college team, I know Morgan’s cycling dreams won’t be deterred. He’ll continue to race, and he will continue to earn his stripes and move through the cycling point system ranks. He will continue to study cycling from all sides, and he will study it even more in-depth as his goals are to study the body and it’s performance through his university years, from a medically-based standpoint.

Everything is a part of this great puzzle, and to accomplish the goals we set for ourselves requires some depth. Goals are just pipe dreams if we’re not willing to do the work.

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

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