I Love a Challenge!

Posted by Laura Baker | May 26, 2012  |  4 Comments

I love a challenge—but it has to be the right challenge.

I’ve been energized by my new goals, despite the fact that I’ve had a stressful week (and despite breaking down at one stressful moment during work for two small chocolates that my intern left for me in my drawer!). I have just until Wednesday to complete a 12-15 page statistical analysis paper for my MBA program. I also have an online facilitation class which I’m taking that allows me to teach online courses through Blackhawk Technical College, where I already teach face-to-face classes. Needless to say, I have a mock online class that needs to be set up to share with the other instructors taking this class, which is due Wednesday. Can I fit anything else in my schedule?!

Oh that’s right—and then there was the email that came in from a good friend of mine (Jamie Christiansen). She told me about the Blackhawk Bike and Ski Club’s supported bike tour ride this weekend. She and her husband planned on riding either the 45 or 60 mile ride, and wanted to know if my husband and I wanted to come along. Uh…..I really loved the offer….but I couldn’t imagine trying to ride any mileage with someone as tiny as Jamie and try to keep up, let alone ride 45 or 60 miles.

I looked at the options, and saw the 12 mile ride option went onto the bike path. I’m not against bike path riding—I think it’s really great. But road riding offers a challenge unlike on a bike path. I’ve ridden the country roads around my house for years, and I’d been out riding again recently. So, I started looking for the next option—and there it was. Thirty miles! It almost slapped me in the face. Could I do it? I mean…I have sat here publically announcing that I would work up to 34 miles by August 18th. Would this be pushing it?

I recall in my days of race training that Chris Carmichael, coach of 7-time Tour De France winner Lance Armstrong, always said that a cyclist could ride indefinitely in an aerobic zone with the proper fuel. Most people who exercise regularly, understand fully what that means. You must replenish lost carbohydrates and electrolytes after about an hour of exercise since your body can only hold so much at any given time. Failure to replenish, and Bonk! You hit the wall!  Ok…this is very figuratively spoken. But it sure feels like you’ve hit a wall once you deplete your body of this necessary fuel.

I haven’t been on a ride where I had to worry about these things in so long. Could I do it? I decided I was up for the challenge—and told Jamie. I also told her “don’t wait for me as I need to take my time, especially on the hills!”

Just this promise alone allowed me to push myself more than I had on the bike in recent years—and you know what? I actually feel really good! I rode 8.5 miles on Tuesday at a harder pace than I had been used to in the past year, and another 11.5 miles Wednesday with both days feeling like I could go longer. I didn’t make it out on Thursday due to the 70 mph wind gusts…and a lot of homework! Friday evening we had plans to head over to the Rockford Riverhawks baseball game. But today…I made sure I got out for 5.5 miles to warm up my legs despite the fact that I sat in front of a computer all day working on statistics. I have to say—I felt great! I felt like I just might be able to make that 30 miles tomorrow—in 95 degree heat. Gulp!

I’m nervous about it—but I’m going to take it as it comes. I watch the rising barometer prediction, and am feeling apprehensive about the whole thing. But I won’t know if I can do it if I don’t try. It’s a challenge—and I’m going to give it everything I have.

Wish me luck!

Categories : Blog


  1. Jamie says:

    You did awesome, Laura! So happy you decided to take the challenge- Ben and I enjoyed riding with you and your husband and daughter :)

  2. Kelly says:

    How did it go? How did you feel physically and emotionally?

    • Laura Baker says:

      Hi Kelly–Sorry about the delay! I am a day behind this week. :-) I just posted my updated blog about the ride. It went good–at least in the idea that I completed what I set out to do!

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