In a nutshell - I'm scared. Now, let's crack open that nut...
I give a talk entitled "Leaps of Faith and Lapses of Memory". I call it this because people ask me what it takes to become world class at something and this is my answer. Of course there are the training sessions and the sacrifices that must also be acknowledged but actually what makes the biggest difference is being prepared to put yourself out there and take a chance on something that you're not sure you will succeed at. Doing so is painful and scary because often you fail or fall short of expectations. It's then that the lapses of memory part comes in handy. It's the people who get up off the floor and do it again, and again, and again that get better at something. And in order to get up, it helps to forget how much it hurt when you first hit the floor.
All that said, you still have to be able to say no to challenges that are too big. If you take leaps of faith that try to span unrealistic distances, you hit the floor with so much more force and the impact is harder to forget. Sometimes it pays to be kind to yourself.
I put myself under a lot of pressure a lot of the time. Sometimes I can handle it and it even helps me raise my game and succeed in what I have set out to achieve. But sometimes, the pressure paralyses me. It's at moments like these that I have to make a judgement call. Press on or back off.
I've had my heart set on racing the Tour Divide for a long time. Three thousand miles of self supported bike packing as fast as possible down America's Continental Divide hijacked my imagination long ago and now I can't stop thinking about it. But for the first time possibly ever, I have backed off a challenge that I've set myself with no excuse other that "I'm just not ready". I want to spend another year getting my head around the loneliness, the distance, the sleep deprivation, the bears, the potential for saddle sores. I also want another year to savour the anticipation and build my resilience.
The Tour Divide will still be there in 2017 and I'll be a year older and wiser. It will still be a leap of faith - no challenge this big can ever be anything other than that - only with another year to prepare myself, perhaps the lapse required by my memory will not need to be so huge.
Perhaps the real trick is to match the size of the leap with the lapse.