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Friday, January 16, 2009


US Postal Service team leader Lance Armstrong reacts as he crosses the finish line to win the 15th stage of the Tour de France cycling race between Valreas, southern France, and Villard-de-Lans, French Alps, Tuesday, July 20, 2004. Armstrong was honored Monday Dec. 27, 2004 as The Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year for the third straight year. Armstrong joined Michael Jordan (1991-93) as the only athletes selected by sports writers and broadcasters three straight times since the honor was first awarded in 1931.
AP / File Augusta Chronicle 12/27/04

We're supposed to have goals, right?
(My wife would recommend that I place the word "reasonable" in that sentence somewhere, I'm sure)
So, I'm laying out some that I've been considering for this year.
I in no way think that at the end of this year I will return to this post and compare reality with these hopes. This is just an opportunity to wander through the possibilities.

First, a story about a goal.
In August of '08 I posted about a dismal ride up Mt. Diablo. It was painful. The only worse pain I've had on the bike, was a bone chilling descent from the same mountain at the end of '07, which I have not forgotten. There was no choice concerning the descent - I wasn't about to spend the night on that mountain wearing sweaty spandex.

The climb 3/4 of a year later was optional - and grueling.

I never would have finished, if I hadn't set a goal. I had determined to make it my fastest time to the top of the mountain, which meant I had to reach the summit.
Not even 3 miles into the 11 mile climb, it was obvious that the secondary goal, "a best time ever" was a dream and likely to be more like a nightmare. Just surviving all the way to the top was becoming a perilous prospect. However, with half of the objective already deceased, the other approached a temporary obsession.

There were a variety of factors working against me that afternoon, and the sum of them was enough to create doubts about my sanity moving forward. This 3000'+ climb had become routine, so it would have been inconsequential to miss just once. However, I had set a goal to reach the top of the mountain, so I pressed on through clammy crawling skin, dizziness, and nausea. I had bonked, hit the wall, blew up, and any or all of a number of other ways of saying I was spent, all in, toast, and wasted. The climb was miserable.

Notwithstanding, and much later than anticipated, my goal was achieved. And as always, it was worth it. Not because I felt so good, or because there was anyone there to laud and praise, but rather because quitting feels so bad.

Lance Armstrong has a quote:
“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.”

My wife found this quote poster size, with a picture of Lance and framed it for my office. I actually think of it often.

In the first Century AD the Apostle Paul, prior to his demise, was led by the Spirit of God to write, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:" in reference to finishing this life in good standing with the God of the universe.

Now that's a goal. That's finishing well. That's refusing to quit. That's what I want to be able to say.

List of Goals - (Many of which aren't nearly as important as the previous paragraphs may have led you to anticipate.)

1. Ride one of the bikes at least once per week.
2. Run / ride at least twice a week.
3. Ride to the top of diablo four times in one day - at least once this year.
4. Finish all 5 passes on the Death Ride.
5. Replace my 10+ year old bike before the Death Ride.
6. Get Dave and Pastor to the top of Mt. Diablo on their bikes at least once.
7. Get my daughter proficient enough to ride her bike along with Bec and I while we walk.
8. Ride at least one organized century other than the Death Ride.
9. Swim in the warm Atlantic Ocean.
10. Ski at least twice this winter.
11. Make a list of my personal and spiritual goals somewhere else where others won't read them.

1 comment:

  1. Mom here--Makes me think about setting some goals myself. In reality, I don't, or at best they are vague, fuzzy blobs of "hope so". Goals as a wife, mother, grandmother, Quiz coach, personal goals of Scripture memorzation, Scripture passages, or topics to study out this year, Spriritual growth books to read this year, plus, like you say Spritual growth in my life.
    Bet you never thought your biking would have such an influence on my life. Really makes me think. As you remember, I sure had much to think on last year--how could you forget as I commented to you.
    May you realize your goals, and I pray especially that for your Spiritual goals, as those are what counts for eternity.

    I love you, Son.
    Love and prayer,