“Don’t blame the bat, just blame the batter.” I grew up with that maxim. We all know what that means. The athlete should not blame their equipment when they lose or underperform. It is their fault, period.
Recently, on a training ride with the Midnight Train from Georgia (the toughest and best looking peloton ever), I sucked. I was terrible. I was so bad that I don’t know if words could describe it. I was fighting every inch with pain in my right leg and no power or speed as I hit any hill. I’ve never had more moments where I have wanted to quit than those 45 miles on that Sunday. Only the memory and strength of my father kept me going as I pushed along in my “granny gear” at speeds barely fast enough to keep me up on two wheels.
I was spent and discouraged. I kept telling myself that I was I better than this, but could not find another gear. While deep down I thought that this was an anomaly, a part of me was saying that I was not ready for 200 miles of Pelotonia in just a couple of weeks.
During the following week, I purchased new cleats for my shoes. These are the small pieces of plastic that lock into my pedals to ensure efficiency as I pedal, pulling up with one leg when I would push down with the other. Who would think that changing such a small piece would make a difference?
IT DID! My old cleats were worn and broken. I had no efficiency with them and lost almost all of my power. A simple change with an insignificant piece of plastic transformed my performance from a struggle to truly crushing hills the next week on a 55 mile ride with 2600 feet of climb.
Aside from feeling great after that ride, I thought about why I am riding 200 miles over two days with the Midnight Train and 8000 other riders. I ride for my father, but not just him. You see, I ride for everyone who just needs new cleats - who simply need some new equipment or a breakthrough to transform a struggle into a triumph. We are not far away from these things.
I can ride my bike and everyone who is fighting cancer needs us to raise money to fund what seems like an insignificant item that can transform that struggle with cancer into a triumph over it. It is that simple. Every dollar buys a new cleat or funds a scientific discovery— every bit of support turns a struggle into a challenge.
Some team members will contribute periodically throughout the season as we ramp up to Pelotonia weekend in August.