Sticky muddy grit

Once upon a time, I raced in a 67-km mountain bike event in Squamish, BC. It had rained the previous day turning the trails into tracts of sticky mud that accumulated on everything. To top it off, the race was all about climbing – and lots of it. Can you say: “Insane fun”?

My chain came off twice, my left pedal hit a rock, and I slipped off the trail into bushes. But these were minor annoyances compared to the second half of the race as I could no longer clip into my left cleat (darn that rock!), making the remaining technical stretches a walking event for me. Mud became a stubborn second skin. Finally, the threads in my left pedal had stripped and the pedal detached from the crank shaft altogether. I had no idea how much further I had left to go.

Six and a half hours after the start gun, I rolled to the finish plastered in mud and pedaling with one leg. Oddly, this remains my favourite race memory.

Think of the sticky, upward slogs in your life, and the times you got derailed or couldn’t get enough traction. You slipped, got muddy, or spun out. Then remember emerging from the other side: successful, intact, triumphant, and wiser.

What kept you going? True grit. You did it before; you can do it again!

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