Anderson Dental Care - March 2020

BRUSH - UP

ANDERSON DENTAL CARE Nathan Brooks, DDS, Inc.

7525 STATE RD., STE. A, CINCINNATI, OH 45255 | 513-438-8152 | WWW.ATOWNDENTAL.COM | MARCH 2020

IT’S ABOUT THE DISTANCE YOU COVER, NOT THE DESTINATION YOU REACH

In 2011, I volunteered to ride my bike nearly 130 miles from Indianapolis, IN, to Louisville, KY, as a leader with my church’s youth group. I was designated as a support leader for the ride. Good thing I was only needed for support because I’d never ridden anywhere near this distance on a bicycle before, and it had been a few years since I’d ridden a bike at all. We planned the ride meticulously. Since it was church-sponsored, we had to round up bikes for everybody and make sure strong safety protocols were in place. We had to pick the perfect route, one that would follow major roads, but not so major that people were going to get hit by cars. Since I hadn’t spent much time riding bikes before this, I had a lot of learning to do. I had to quickly learn how to change tires and dial in our gear, and figure out all the possible things we might need. My wife and I, along with a gaggle of kids and parents from our church, trained for something like 3–4 months leading up to our ride. Even just planning a bike ride that long takes a lot of work and effort. When the day of our ride came, it was a pretty great July day. It wasn’t terribly hot and the sun was shining. Our planned ride saw us riding a majority of the way on the first day — almost 100 miles — camping, and then finishing the ride on the second day. I felt confident as we set out. We had trained and prepared carefully. What could go wrong?

Sometimes, though, things just don’t go as planned, no matter how badly you want them to. I started feeling weak, and I fell to the back of the pack of bikers. People would ride back to check on me, and then take off again to the front of the pack, and even though I was feeling worse and worse, I did not want to give up. I wanted so badly to finish that ride. I didn’t get off my bike until it was absolutely past clear I had to. As much as I didn’t want to admit it, to myself or anyone else, I had heatstroke. I started to black out intermittently, and no amount of ice water could change that. It wasn’t safe, and I knew it. Reluctantly, I got off my bike and climbed into the medic van accompanying us. Sitting in that van, I felt so sheepish. I felt like I had failed, like all the months of training I’d put into preparing for the ride had been a waste. My wife had finished the ride just fine; why couldn’t I? I thought about all of the kids who were with us. Many of the kids were weaving around me, and I just could not keep going — not safely, anyway. In camp that night, it was pouring rain. As we huddled in tents, other riders tried to help comfort me, and I started to see the whole thing differently. After all, I had basically started from zero. Even though I had to ride in the van for part of the day, I’d still ridden 50 or 60 miles, not to mention all the training and planning I’d accomplished before the ride! I had fallen into

the trap of comparing myself to others, but I realized that wasn’t offering a meaningful view of what was really going on. Several other leaders on the trip were bikers. They biked long distances all the time and had all the special gear and fancy attire. I had hardly ridden my bike at all in the several years prior to this ride. I brought my best to the ride, but I still got heatstroke. It didn’t change the fact that I’d given it my all and had made huge strides from where I’d started. And isn’t that the point of goals? To move us forward in the direction we want to go. Despite things not working out the way I’d hoped, I decided to consider that trip a huge success because I made progress — I got better and I grew stronger. In the end, I’m proud of my accomplishment. I was able to finish the ride on the second day, and I ended up focusing on how much I accomplished — going from 5 miles to planning and mostly riding a 130-mile bike ride in just a few months. Accomplishment, it turns out, is all about the distance you get from your own starting point, wherever that may be.

– Dr. Brooks

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