About 10 minutes into the climb up Scripps Poway Parkway, my legs began to burn. The fire in my quads got hotter as the pedals on my bike somehow kept spinning forward. I didn’t anticipate this. The 1400 foot climb looked a lot easier when I mapped out the course on the computer yesterday. A flat map lends itself well to aspirations of a 90 mile ride covering San Diego County. The third dimension of elevation began to manifest itself as pain while I looked at the mountain summit over a mile ahead. Keep pushing Tim. You’ll get there.

This was the first climb of the day. Only 22 miles in, we had another 65 miles of steep climbs, fast descents, and some flat recovery stretches. The hard work was rewarded with a good dinner, and of course- a nice cold beer.

As I was riding along an undeveloped stretch of Highland Valley Road, I couldn’t help but think how much riding my bike resembles life itself. I was watching a triathlon recap on TV last week, and this lady said, “I think that life’s true lessons reveal themselves through training and racing”. I totally agree with her. I mapped out this route for Julie and I to ride in preparation for a century ride we are doing in a few weeks. While I knew the route, I did not know what hills and valleys were in store. Just like in life, where we often have a direction, but we hit the hills, and wonder what we got ourselves into.

I do know that the sense of accomplishment in completing a difficult ride outweighs that of an easy one. This 88 miles was more difficult than some 100+ mile rides I have done. It was so worth it. Not only am I getting stronger, but I am learning how to deal with the challenges head-on.

I know there are a thousand parallels I could draw here. Any of you that know me, have probably heard half of them by now! I think the unique parallel that hit me this time, was the transition from the two dimensional map of my route, to the three dimensional ride itself. I think there are a thousand times in our lives when we follow God’s plan and find ourselves battling some mountain top climbs where we would just rather get off our bike and walk. It is this time of testing that we must rely on our Faith as believers, and our past training to get us through. (James 1:3 The testing of your faith produces endurance). There is little doubt that we will look back, and praise God for the ability to conquer the challenge. Life is indeed a map. It is the hills, valleys and flats that make it interesting.