Riding a bike didn’t impress me much as a kid. When I moved to Salt Lake City in my 20’s and learned that people climb mountains on bikes, I felt inspired. One of the first serious cyclists I came to know was my CPA, Todd Newman. Todd put in 300+ miles a week during his most intense years, often training for the LoToJa cycling race.
Named for the cities at which it begins and ends, Logan (Utah) to Jackson (Wyoming), LoToJa was created in 1983 by two Utahns who wanted a race that resembled the difficulty of a one-day European classic. The course consists of three mountain passes through the scenic terrain of Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming. The dramatic finish line is framed by the rugged Tetons at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. To complete the course, amateur cyclists endure 9,000 feet of vertical climb––in 200+ miles. It’s a grueling ride.
A few years ago, in spite of my overweight and out-of-shape status, I resolved to ride LoToJa one day, and so I began to train. Over time, I was climbing places I never imagined I would go.
Recently, I finished another ride up Big Cottonwood Canyon. Flanked by jagged rock-faced mountains, and lined by a river, waterfalls, and dense forests, the ride to the top is just under 20 miles and about 4,000 feet of vertical elevation. It’s a beast of a climb. I rode the canyon several times this year, but this week I finally reached the top. I felt winded and sore, but good.
Descending the mountain, I remembered something. The familiar ride I had just completed, had once seemed to me an impossible feat. Although I have yet to ride LoToJa, working towards that lofty goal has led me to accomplish other great things.
It’s easy to restrict a belief in your capacity and feel content with mediocre achievement. We find reasons to put ourselves down. We tell ourselves, “I’m not smart enough,” “I can’t do that,” “I’m not that athletic,” “My personality isn’t…,” and “I’m not attractive enough.” We fill in the blanks with self-limiting messages that breed self-hate and restrain our possibilities.
In reality, humans are capable of amazing things. Feats of greatness are often preceded by simply dreaming big. Challenge yourself to envision the most fulfilling, most impactful life you possibly can. Dream up a business vision that pushes you to accomplish things that you wouldn’t have dared to dream years ago.
Start pedaling, and set your sights on a mountain that’s just a little bit bigger than you thought you’d be able to climb. Worst case, even if you don’t ride your version of LoToJa, you’ll likely end up at the top of another huge mountain.