31 – Challenge Yourself

This one is important. Something I really want my boys to learn.

Challenge yourself. Every day. Push your limits.

Owen and I worked on this one recently. He set a goal of riding 50km on his bike by the end of the summer. He set it in the Spring, and I knew he would have more than enough time to reach his goal. Plus, he was already riding 25km to 30km with me a few times a month.

We signed up for our first ride, and completed the Tour de Guelph 25km ride on June 25th. We biked to the starting line, rode our 25km and biked back home again. In all we hit nearly 40km for the day, which was amazing considering the number of hills we faced during the day.

We decided almost right after that to ride in the Tour de Norfolk on July 16th. We signed up and rode in the 40km ride, which was the next logical step for us at that point. Even though we were tired that day, we completed the ride in good time, and Owen was inching closer to his goal.

Finally we signed up to ride in the 3 Port Tour 50km ride on August 19th. This was the big one. We knew it would be hard, so we spent all last week out on riding adventures to prepare us for the day. Toronto Island, Niagara Falls and Hamilton are some of the best places we rode to prepare.

Last Saturday was one of the best days I have spent with Owen. I got to see my son reach the goal he challenged himself with. I may have pushed him along the way, but he is the one who did it. I have never been more proud of him.

Now, we are looking for our next biking adventure, and already thinking about the upcoming 2018 ride season. There are so many things we could do together, to challenge ourselves.

I am counting down the days until my 40th birthday with 40 Things.

32 – There Is Nothing More Valuable Than Time

We give it to others carelessly, not knowing how they will treat it.

They may cherish it, and value it. They may disregard it, and dismiss it.

Either way, it is gone for good.

Time is more valuable than money, friends, houses, vacations, jobs and cars. Without time, none of these things matter at all.

Time is the greatest resource we have. It is life’s most precious commodity, and the greatest gift we can give to another.

I am counting down the days until my 40th birthday with 40 Things.

33 – Two Wheels > Four Wheels

It is no secret that there is no activity I enjoy more than getting out and exploring on my bike. Being on two wheels has given me some incredible experiences that I would not have had otherwise.

Yesterday, was no exception. Owen and I biked together from Niagara-on-the-Lake, all the way to the mouth of Niagara Falls and back again. It was not an easy ride, but it sure was a fun one. It was Owen’s first visit ever, and my first time seeing the Falls like this.

Although the long climb up the escarpment almost did us in, knowing the reward was seeing the Falls kept us moving along. It was not easy, and there were a few times Owen felt it would be more sensible to turn around and head back to the car.

Here are just some of the things we would have missed if we did the trip by car:

  • Brown’s Point – The location of Brown’s Inn near where both the Canadian York Militia and the American Army bivouacked on separate occasions during the War of 1812.
  • We learned about Chloe Cooley and slavery in Canadian history.
  • Our bike path went right over top of the Sir Adam Beck Hydroelectric Generating Station. Pretty awesome to say the least.
  • We met Paul Safari (not sure if that is really his name) in Queenston when the trail goes away from the Niagara Parkway and into the residential homes. He was a very friendly and kind man. He has been fixing and rebuilding Land Rovers and Range Rovers for use all over the world, for more than 40 years. The collection of old vehicles outside his shop is what made us double back. Camel Trophy is the homework he assigned to Owen.
  • We rode our bikes from one side of the Niagara Whirlpool Aero Car to the other, in complete awe of the scenery.
  • We watched several sight-seeing helicopters land and then take off again from the helipad along our route.

Of course, once we made it to the Falls, we also did some normal tourist things. We took a walk up Clifton Hill, and went through the Fun House. It’s silly fun, but a must when you visit the Falls. We certainly stood out in the crowd though, because we were wearing our helmets most of the time. I suppose we should have locked them up with our bikes.

One of the highlights was our gourmet Sweet Jesus ice cream cones. Owen indulged in Krusty the Cone, and mine was a Bounty Killah. Delicious and messy, and yet another reason to do this trip all over again.

Next time, I might lock the bikes up sooner though, because walking them through the crowds proved to be a challenge. I’m still glad we had them, because they made for a very unique picture in front of the Falls, that may be one of my favorites with Owen.

The question is, who wants to join us next time? Check out the Relive video of our ride.

I am counting down the days until my 40th birthday with 40 Things.

34 – Know When To Walk Away

In theory, this is so simple. Yet, few of us actually put it into practice.

It could be a job or a relationship. A fight with a loved one, or something that is challenging and frustrating to us. It could be a debate with your kids. We have all been in this place.

Everyone one of us knows the moment we should walk away.

Everything is going smoothly. You are happy and on top of the world. You worked very hard to get to this point, and are dreaming of what comes next. Maybe it is a promotion? A vacation perhaps? It is so damn close you can taste it.

Then, out of left field, comes something totally unexpected. It knocks you to your knees. Just like that, everything you had been planning and dreaming of is gone, or postponed indefinitely. And there is nothing you can do except wait.

THAT is the moment. When you have been brought to your knees. WALK AWAY.

I am still learning this, and I’d be lying if I said it was easy.

I am guilty of convincing myself that I can’t do any better. Guilty of rationalizing all the reasons why I should stay. Making excuses that have little purpose, other than justifying my stalling tactics.

I tolerate things that drive me crazy. Every. Single. Day.

I think it’s time I take my own advice.

I am counting down the days until my 40th birthday with 40 Things.

35 – Don’t Quit Without Pushing For It First

This is a message for Owen. One he learned the value of today.

Last week we biked from Burlington Beach, and had no destination in mind. We got pretty close to Fifty Point before we turned around. It was a great ride and we finished with 35km, but were really curious about the conservation area.

Today we headed out again, and Owen wanted to head back to Burlington to complete the ride to Fifty Point. We made sure we had snacks with us, and ate along the way because we weren’t certain how long we would be out there.

The ride started really well, and everything was great until about the 10km mark. O decided he was giving up and could not go any further. He was determined to head back to the car. I pushed him to keep going. He cried, yelled and refused. It was pretty ugly.

When the temper tantrum eased, we talked and decided to bike 5 km more and then turn around and head back. It was reasonable to both of us, since we had come a long way for this ride.

From that point on he was happy and excited to be riding. When we got to the 15km mark which was our turn-around, he chose to keep going. I asked Owen at every km after that if he wanted to turn around, and he was now determined to make it to Fifty Point.

We made it, and rode around the conservation area, and then all the way back to Burlington. A whopping 49km ride – my longest this year, and the longest Owen has ever done.

We talked about it afterwards, and the importance of pushing through and not quitting, even when we have convinced ourselves it is the only option. The goal to make it to Fifty Point would have never been reached if he gave in and quit.