Saturday was the last day of our tour. I realize that if you’ve been reading we’ve skipped a few days but for now the end returns me back to the beginning. The ride has progressed to Bar Harbor Maine located mid-coast and adjacent with Arcadia National Park. The route for today was the Park Loop road with an option to summit Cadillac Mountain 1,500 feet up from our hotel on the harbor. The total mileage for the day was the shortest at 26 miles for the loop and the summit was an additional 3.5 miles up and then back.
Hindsight revealed to me three leadership lessons that helped me make it through the day.
- Being in the right place at the right time is key. Showing up is half the battle.
- The mental part of any physical game is just as important if not more.
- Any goal accomplished feels even better when it was a challenge to achieve it.
This Saturday morning was different from the others days. Each of the prior mornings we would wake up and have breakfast at 8am and then meet to review the route map as a group at 9am and we were off. The ride this morning started at 6am and breakfast was 16 miles in at 800 feet. There is something about the anticipation and the taste of a freshly baked Maine blueberry muffin that can make the miles fly by. Getting up and being ready for the ride was the first hurdle. The temperature was ~57 degrees and so we were much cooler than any other day as well. This day actually felt the most familiar to me given that my daily rides would take place around 6am.
Day 7’s route began with the same ascent out of the harbor from day 6 of the ride. The assent to Arcadia Park was the most challenging part of day 6 and here we were faced with it again. It was the begining of a greater day of challenging climbs. It was key for me to focus on the fact that I had done this before and I could do it again. I had to get the first 5 miles behind me to be able to focus on the opportunities of the morning (including the muffins).
I had envisioned myself taking the optional climb to the top of Cadillac Mountain but had not committed to it out loud to anyone in our group. A great deal of my decision making would depend on the outcome of the first 5 mile ascent.
When I reached mile 16 at Jordan Pond the blueberry muffins were waiting. They were exactly what I needed to provide sustenance and to rev me up for the decision that was at hand; to take the optional 3.5 miles climb or not. All group members were enjoying breakfast together and we were all discussion as to what our plans were. The general consensus was we were all going to do it. Mile 15 to 16 was a long upward climb to plateau at Jordan Pond and our route guides explained that the grade to the top was nothing more just longer.
I was in the second group to leave with the hope of not finishing too far behind everyone else; I made the decision to see the top. Once mentally committed there was a weight removed and pedaling was with more purpose and less burden. The assent was on very smooth road and a very consistent grade. The rate of speed was little more than 5 miles per hour as car after car of tourist carefully passed me.
It took me 45 minutes of pedaling including a few stops to reach the top. I did the overhead bike celebration pose to capture the moment on film. The summit has a nice walking trail that provides almost a 360 view. I was able to scope out a few of the points we had ridden the day before. The sense of accomplishment was amazing. It was about committing to the process, anticipating and “just keep pedaling”.
The descent took just under 8 minutes. I had to slow down because for all the traffic.