Say Yes To Your Adventure

“The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.” -Joseph Campbell

Building adventure into our lives is one of the best things we can do for our souls. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day humdrum of life. We forget that life is an adventure to be lived. We have to be intentional about building adventure into our lives or it doesn’t happen. Life can be a grind if we let it. This can lead to our feeling trapped, living a life of conformity and inner emptiness. If you are feeling any of these things in your life, maybe it’s time to say yes to your adventure.

I just had some adventure over this past weekend. I have never been to the western part of Colorado and was wanting to explore different parts of this glorious state I live in. I set this adventure up about three months ago. One of my favorite things to do is to explore places on my bike. I entered a gravel bike race called the CO2UT. It’s a hundred mile gravel race that goes from Fruita, Colorado to the Utah border and back.

I use the term race loosely. As it’s really a race against myself. It’s a way to be competitive with myself and see what I am capable of doing. I love the fact that I can explore parts of this country on my bike that I would never be able to see otherwise. That is my adventure.

Expect the Unexpected

The adventure started a little bit earlier than I expected when my Airbnb host called me two nights before I was supposed to stay at her place and told me she came down with COVID and that I wouldn’t be able to stay there. It was a mad scramble to find an alternative place to stay as all the hotels were booked because of the race. As it turns out, she was able to find a place for me to stay with one of her friends. He turned out to be a great guy. We had so many things in common and had wonderful conversations over the three days I stayed with him.

Shared Passion for Cycling

By saying yes to my adventure, I was able to build a new friendship. We never know the twists and turns that will happen when we get out of our comfort zone and go out exploring. We never know the people we will meet, the challenges we will face and the lessons we will learn.

Back to the race. The start of the race is always exciting. There were 207 male participants in my one hundred mile race. Some people are crazy enough to sign up for the 125 or the 185 miles option. I didn’t want to do one mile over one hundred.

We got a police escort out of town which is really cool. To have all of the cyclists go out together is such a neat feeling. To take a look around and see people that you know you have at least one thing in common, a passion for cycling.

One thing I have learned from doing multiple endurance events on my bike is to stay within myself, not getting caught up in going at someone else’s pace. I have learned that lesson the hard way. I was undertrained going into this event, so for me it was about being as competitive as possible with myself.

Overcoming Challenges

I always have two goals when I enter these events. Number one is to always finish. And I am proud to say I have always done that regardless of the weather or how I have felt. Number two is to finish strong. I was able to accomplish both of these in this race.

The thing about gravel racing is that you have to be focused 100% of the time because the weather and terrain can change in a heartbeat. There was one section that was a little downhill with some water to cross and then immediately after there was an uphill section that was like soft beachy sand. I was in the wrong gear and barely stayed upright. I took a peak behind me and saw this guy bite it.

Another challenge is the weather. Right at about mile 50 a huge rain and wind storm came up. I literally was going about three miles an hour just trying to stay upright on my bike getting pelted with rain. I allowed myself to turn that crank over one more time and then one more time. About ten minutes later the storm passed.

Physical, Mental and Spiritual Growth

There are always several points in the race when I ask myself the question why I do this? No one is making me do it. I could just go out for leisurely twenty mile bike rides and stay in reasonably good shape. But when we say yes to our adventure is when we grow physically, mentally and spiritually. When we live our life too much in our comfort zone, we don’t grow. We get stagnant and bored. This is the adventure I choose.

The low spots for me were at about mile forty and mile seventy. At mile forty I was feeling tired battling a big uphill into a gale force wind knowing I am not even halfway there. The cool thing at mile forty-five I got a text on my bike computer that lifted me up. A friend of mine sent the perfect text at the perfect time. It was great knowing that I had a friend back home cheering me on.

At mile seventy I am about over it. At this point I have spent multiple hours on my bike and I am ready to be done, but there is another thirty miles to go. That’s where gut check time comes in. At about mile ninety the adrenaline kicks in knowing that the finish line is fast approaching. There is always a thrill of crossing the finish line knowing that I pedaled with my own human power through all kinds of rough terrain and weather for one hundred miles. I never regret it when I say yes to my adventure.

Feel Fully Alive

I learn a little bit more about myself every time I go on these adventures. I am reminded that one of my gifts is perseverance. That I never give up. That no matter what I will find a way to get it done. I know there is a competitive spirit in me that I will continue to keep alive as long as possible. It’s about being the best version of myself. There were lots of cyclists that finished before me and there were plenty that finished after me. That isn’t the point. The point is getting out there living life.

Another great quote from Joseph Campbell that speaks to my soul. 

“I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.”

The million dollar question is are you living a life that makes you feel fully alive? If not, why not? A great place to start is to say yes to your adventure. Whatever that is for you. It doesn’t have to be a big event, it just has to get you out of your comfort zone. It has to get you out of your current environment so you can go out and explore your authentic soul.

I am learning to enjoy life living in the present moment. Exploring the world on two wheels is exciting to me. What’s your adventure? What gets your juices flowing? I try to build in at least quarterly adventures into my life. I have some more epic bike rides this summer and a 14er to climb. I have one big adventure coming up that I will share with you at a later time.

Life is short my friends. Enjoy it. Live it. Be your authentic soul by saying yes to your adventure.

Troy Ismir

Spiritual Warrior Coach

Founder and Creator of Barbells & Brothers


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