It's a Super Randonneur medal from world randonneuring headquarters in Paris. I'm super excited! It says 2015 because the medals are produced only in Paris-Brest-Paris years, which are every four years. This medal represents two goals for me: completing the Super Randonneur Series (a 200K, 300K, 400K, and 600K all in the same calendar year) and aspiring to PBP in 2019!
I enjoy the Strava mileage challenges. No one in the world except me cares if I meet these challenges, but attaining all of the available electronic badges (25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% of 1250 km) motivates me to ride. I only do the mileage challenges from March through September because the other months don't have enough daylight hours for me to ride 1250 km. (Besides, I need to give myself a break sometimes, too.) Here at the end of June, I realized that I need to push it to make 1250 km for the month. I'm not about to forgo the monthly Strava distance challenge during the month with the longest days of the year! Therefore, today I rode farther than I would have otherwise. It was a hot and draining 77 miles today on top of a hot and draining 82 miles for yesterday's annual BBQ Bass Bicycle Ride. It was worth it, though. As I told Robert, having built up so much endurance through a number of difficult riding conditions, I'd much rather maintain it than have to build it back.
Goal-setting is very important to me. I like structure in my life, and working toward goals is part of this structure. Also, achieving goals is very fulfilling because I tend to set ones that require some effort. At the same time, while I don't focus on it, I recognize that the possibility exists that I might not reach a goal. I've been thinking about two of my friends who didn't quite reach theirs.
My friend Chad is an avid, excellent cyclist. He's like an aircraft carrier; he might not be the zippiest one out there, but he rides at a very high level and can keep up an effort for hours. That makes him ideally suited for time trialing. In fact, he's been state champion in his category several times. Last month Chad was out for a regular Sunday afternoon training ride. The unthinkable happened; an 18-wheeler hit him. Chad was life flighted to Grady Hospital's trauma center. Miraculously and thankfully, Chad survived and eventually will be able to ride again. In the meantime, he has a long road to recovery. Right now he's struggling with having to put aside certain plans and goals he had for this cycling season. Obviously, the most important thing is that he's still alive, but it's certainly understandable that he's grieving for those lost dreams.
This year's Race Across America (RAAM) is just finishing. I've particularly been following Erik Newsholme, a solo racer from Atlanta. Erik attempted solo RAAM last year when I raced with the 4-person, women's Sorella team. Last year Erik made it to Ohio, about 2/3 of the way. Along with dozens, maybe hundreds, of others, I've really been rooting for Erik this year. When he passed last year's DNF point looking strong, I had such strong hopes for him. Unfortunately, he DNFed this year, too. It was only about 100 miles from the finish. I can't even imagine what this must be like for him, especially after he has trained so hard for at least the past two years. He probably hasn't processed it yet. Regardless, Erik is amazing! As someone else put it, a DNF is better than a DNS.
I follow an uplifting page on Facebook called A Mighty Girl. It highlights girls and women who are strong, brave, and smart. Sometimes famous women are featured. Yesterday A Mighty Girl highlighted Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on her 62nd birthday. She has accomplished so much despite challenges ranging from the limited financial means of her family to the death of her father when she was a young child. This quote from her really resonates with me this weekend:
If you are reading this, I hope you set and reach goals for yourself - achievable but ones that make you stretch. They might be for cycling, other sports, or nonsporting endeavors. Whatever they are, ride on!