Merriam-Webster dictionary defines motive as “something that causes a person to act” and motivation as “a motivating stimulus, force, or influence”.
I like to think that my motivation comes from a long lineage of mettle before me. Both sides of my family put their heads down and worked hard. Nothing was ever expected to come easy. My family has worked at meat packing factories as kids, worked the steel mills till their death, taught in the Civilian Conservation Corps, and got through the hard times. They are the definition of grit. I sometimes wonder if my relentless drive to push myself, to be washed by suffering, is due to my unconscious desire to get close to my glorified idea of who they were and what they stood for.
My dad’s saying “You can always go harder, it’s all mental” rings through my mind. I don't know when he first started saying this to me but it stuck. I have viewed everything in my life with this idea that you don't have to be the best athlete, the strongest physically, or the smartest to meet your goal. You just need to be the strongest mentally. Everyone is suffering the same but the winner is the one who can suffer the longest at the greatest intensity.
Life and sports are a battle of attrition. I fully believe that anything in life is doable if you are ok suffering and being uncomfortable to achieve it. A life with no pain is a life where nothing gets done.
Now, I know that this sounds really intense, and it my seem like I view life as trying to one up others. Instead, I view it as a one on one battle with yourself. In the end you are only trying to be the best version of yourself.
“Pain is the purifier” this quote from the running legend Percy Cerutty echoes in my mind every day. I have it printed on a road ID I wear everyday. It’s been a saying in my family for as long as I can remember. In many instances it has been used a joke but I have come to take the saying as a major motive for my life challenges and goals. I believe that only in suffering do we know who we are and what we are capable of.
When I am out of breath, nearly vomiting, shaking, and trying to calm a heartbeat of 200 bbm, then I know I am alive. Everything is clear in those moments. It becomes clear that you are just competing against your own self. Going toe to toe with a side of you that wants nothing more than to see you quit. This battle never ends but only gets harder as you get stronger.
But motivation is hard to maintain. When you do lose a battle to yourself and turn back on a run early, stop on a hill, or eat that extra brownie you have two options. Learn and grow by changing habits, pushing harder or developing a new plan. Or you can take the easy route and decide that the challenge was too large, unattainable, and you are not up to the challenge and you quit. This is the ultimate killer of motivation; self doubt. When you are competing against yourself, the second self doubt creeps into your mind you are already falling behind.
With the triple crown training and preparation I have had issues with motivation. I struggle with the time commitment, large financial strain, and physical challenges these races bring. No one else is putting these races on me. This is my choice. I am the one causing myself this pain and being conscious of this fact can be hard to handle sometimes.
Why am I doing this? Is it worth it? These questions have been circulating my head these past few weeks as I start a new job and battle with mental demons.
But how do I overcome this motivational setback? I get on the bike and ride hard. The days you don't want to ride, train, and run are the days you need to. That's how you get mentally strong. I look back through old photos of me racing and the challenges I faced head on and overcame. I know I can suffer through dark times and that brings a sense of comfort to me when the lights of my dreams seem dim.
Motivation is a tricky S.O.B. and I am taking it on just as I have with everything else in my life, As a personal challenge that involves me and only me. It’s my inner demons vs my goals and expectations and I do not intend for them to stop me.
My motive for the Bikepacking Triple Crown is my unquenchable desire to push myself physically, mentally, and emotionally to my absolute limit. Whatever my overall time is as long as I push myself to my absolute limit I will be satisfied.