"Is there any benefit to setting a goal, working hard to achieve it, and still not reach the goal? That is the question I've been faced with. Here is the rest of the story.
I'm 38 years old, have had relatively good fitness levels, and have participated in a number of longer distance cycling events over the last several years. These events, more recently, have been 100-mile races on gravel roads. Racing on gravel roads has become more popular recently, but still very much an underground, grassroots endeavor. These events are characterized primarily by the fact they are self-supported. There are no organized pit stops, water stops, or outside support allowed. Nobody from the race organization will help you if your bike or body breaks down in the middle of nowhere. You are responsible for yourself. You carry the water, food, and supplies to ride 100 miles.
I knew I would need much more direction for my fitness than I'd had in the past. That was when I decided to call Noonan's. As you can imagine, my story is similar to many others when first starting at NSS: I was overweight, my overall strength was poor, and I had no structure or plan to change either one.
NSS was able to help with all of it. Besides the obvious - getting stronger, losing weight, and helping me stick to a plan - we were able to discuss the mental aspects of ultra-endurance events. The ultra-distance running experience of the staff at NSS was priceless for my preparation and I'm very appreciative of that part of my experience at NSS. After almost 6 months I had lost 18 pounds, was stronger than I had ever been, and was as mentally prepared as I could be. Unfortunately, Mother Nature did not cooperate. The night prior to the start it rained hard and with 20+ mph winds, the conditions were very difficult. The gravel was sticky and soft and the route led us into the wind or with a crosswind for the majority of the first stage. Because of that, I was unable to reach the first checkpoint before the time cut-off, missing it by 10 minutes. My race was done.
I was very disappointed given all the time and work committed to finishing. I take solace in the fact that only 19 out of 67 racers finished in what was considered some of the worst conditions for the race. So, did I gain anything by attempting this crazy race, even though I didn't reach my goal of finishing it? Of course!! I’m in the best shape of my life heading into middle-age, I’m nearly at my high school weight, and I plan to continue to challenge myself by entering long-distance cycling events.
I would encourage anyone who has a goal in mind, whether 300 miles or 3 miles, to call NSS. I can assure you that regardless if you reach your goal or not, you will improve both physically and mentally by attempting it with Noonan's help."