Goals enhance our lives. I believe that a person without goals is simply going through the motions of life missing one of the greatest enhancements to one’s existence – setting and achieving goals. Let me define what I mean by a goal in that not everyone shares my definition. To me the desire and intention to accomplish something in the future cannot be considered a goal unless the goal is defined by very specific time parameters. For example, if I were to say, “I want to learn a foreign language,” that is not a goal – simply a desire. However, if I say, “I intend to learn Spanish prior to leaving for Spain in June,” that is a goal.
I had numerous goals for 2008, but for the purpose of this piece, I will speak of only my goals as they related to cycling – an activity for which I have a deep passion.
My cycling goals for 2008 were in two categories, competitive goals and “other” cycling goals. In the former category my goals were to win both the United States Cycling Federation Florida state time trial and road race championships. In addition my goals were to win both of the time trial state championships at the Florida state Senior Games. I accomplished all of those.
The most challenging goal however, fell into the category of “other cycling goals.” My goal was to train on my bicycle every single day of the calendar year without missing one day and in doing so having no “fluff” mileage days. In other words, I would not consider my goal accomplished if I simply went out and rode a very few miles so that I wouldn’t miss a day. To me, a rest day on the bicycle is an easy 35 mile spin.
Achieving the no missed days goal was not easy. I found myself training on some rather miserable weather days, and sometimes it was quite inconvenient to work in rides while away from home. To accomplish the latter, I never left home without one of my bicycles.
Now please don’t think me excessive/compulsive by what I am about to tell you, just understand that when I set a goal, I take it very seriously. There are many ways to rationalize a missed goal, but I’m not interested – a goal is a goal, and it is to be accomplished!
In mid December, a dentist appointment revealed that a tooth needed to be extracted. The dentist wanted to do it within a couple of days due to the nature of the problem. When she informed me that a tooth extraction would require a couple of days of not riding a bicycle (apparently the clot needs to form at the extraction site and vigorous exercise does not enhance that need). Rather than give up on my goal, I scheduled the appointment for the extraction after the first of the year.
Another impediment to my goal was a scheduled surgery on the 22nd of December at 9AM. I was on my trainer (a device to which a bicycle can be attached and hence ridden indoors) at 5AM in the morning so as not to miss that day. The surgeon knows me quite well in that I’m a poster boy for skin cancer, and although he would love me to take off two weeks after a surgery, he simply now uses extra thick sutures, and keeps them in place for an extra week. I have him well trained!
For those of you interested in statistics, as of today I have ridden 15,823.68 miles this year, and my average weekly mileage is 303.47.
As an aside, I am writing this on December 30th. I will have not achieved my goal until my ride is completed tomorrow. The date is irrelevant in that I will be out there achieving the goal as planned, and nothing will stop me!