Planning to quit.

In my head, it went something like this….Like something out of transformers the truck rose up like the worst Decepticon, ‘there’s only room for one of us on this road, Tanya, and I’m a hell of a lot bigger than you are!’ (cue, maniacal laugh).

So I made a plan to quit, and with that plan, I was able to succeed.

I had made it 300km across the country and I was stumped. Exhausted and in tears I approached a truck driver at the rest stop and asked about the stretch of state highway that lay between me and achieving my goal. In tears, I explained that in the last 23 days I had crossed the country, and I just needed to get roughly 18km down the road – did she think it was safe to cycle. I had been watching all the big truck and trailer units and I was concerned.

She rubbed my shoulder at looked at me with concern, ‘Oh, you’re really tired aren’t you, you’ve come a long way! This is the main road for trucks, it’s not safe and I wouldn’t recommend it. It gets really tight through Pigroot and is no place for cycles.”

I thought for a moment, we had an alternative route through the mountains that was closer, we could avoid Pigroot Hill. ‘What’s the next 7km like?’ I asked.  To this, she replied, ‘it should be ok, it’s mostly open, with good visibility, the corners aren’t too bad.’

I thanked her and returned to the picnic table beside the road to watch the trucks trundle by.  With shaking hands and a deep shaky breath, I again opened the topo map.  I knew that there was a state highway as part of this route – I planned it! I just didn’t realise what it would be like – and with every fibre of my being at that moment, I did not want to cycle it.  I was exhausted after over 100km already that day which had been hard-won against a headwind. My resilience was at an all-time low.  

BUT, if I didn’t complete this section would it be a traverse?  It seemed absurd that I had come all this way and it was a road that was stopping me!

So, I planned to quit.

As I looked at the topo, I noted first a farm, then a couple of side roads.  My plan was to start the cycle, knowing that I could stop. If it felt too much, if it wasn’t safe, I could quit, but this way at least I could bring myself to try.

With heart in my throat, I hopped on my bike and turned onto SH? with a plan to quit.  As each of my exit strategies passed by I felt more confident to keep going.  Traffic passed, giving me heaps of room.  The corners felt risky but I passed through with little traffic.  The battle with hills, tight corners and headwinds that stole my hearing replacing it just with a roar in my ears made for a nervous time, and setting foot inside a roadside paddock never felt so good as it did when I reached my destination.

Without the plan to quit, I wouldn’t have succeeded. Sometimes when things are so overwhelming, giving yourself an out might actually be the perfect way to get through.

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