At 7:27:53 am, on All Saints’ Sunday, I completed the 3.5 mile, 45 degree climb to the top of the Willis (Sears) Tower on a hand-cycle which was connected to a computer to simulate my ascension. Somehow I thought all the hours of training would make the climb easier, but it didn’t. I still had to eat the right combination of carbo-loading oatmeal and walnuts; start pumping the blood through my muscles by warming-up; imbibing enough water to stay hydrated but not have to go to the bathroom; and mentally focus on the task at hand. My couch’s repeated mantra is “train hard – ride easy” was not becoming a reality. The ride wasn’t easy – it was hard! But I was prepared.
When I first glimpsed of the computer monitor that displayed rise of the climb, it seemed different from our practice runs. I asked one of the staff about the seemingly different angle. She said that our practice runs were a simulation and not the actual slope. I thought to myself, “How different could it be?” Forty-five degrees is forty-five degrees! I decided not to be shaken by this perceived difference and rely on my training. I would use what I’d learned about changing gears when the climb seemed tougher to give myself momentum and draw on the centeredness I’ve developed through meditation to minimize distractions.
There was one more unexpected feature; I would be riding in the elite class. Usually I think of the “elite class” as a special gift or honor, like seating on an airpane, but this was not the case. I was riding with guys whose biceps were the size of my head! I was only riding in this category because I had to leave early to go to church to sing two services. But I put my training to action and completed the ride in twenty-seven minutes and fifty-three seconds, trimming two minutes and seven seconds off my practice runs.
As I reflect on yesterday’s ride, it’s a lot like life, there’s always the unexpected. But if we rely on our daily journey as Christians and look to Jesus as our coach, we can use our training to take on the unexpected twists and turns of life.
Thanks to everyone who has already signed up as a sponsor! It’s not too late to make a donation. Just click this link http://ric.convio.net/site/TR/SkyRise/General?fr_id=1130&pg=pfind
My participant name is: Antoinette (Toni) Daniels