Redefining Success in Endurance Sports: Going Beyond Racing
In the world of endurance sports, the thrill of competition often takes center stage. Athletes push their limits, striving for ‘victory’ and recognition. But for Axel Rivera, the pursuit of performance took a different form—one that led him down a path of community, growth, and personal achievement. His quest for endurance fulfillment goes beyond racing.
Unraveling the Myth: “Not Racing” ≠ “Not Interested”
Axel’s story defies the conventional narrative of a competitive athlete. “Not racing doesn’t mean you’re not interested in performance. You’re just not racing,” Axel reflects, offering a unique perspective on his journey into the world of endurance sports.
Unlike many athletes driven by a competitive spirit, Axel is a creature of habit. He discovered that unless a pursuit became a priority, it would fall by the wayside. To stay on track, he established a routine—a key factor that would shape his endurance journey.
Striking the Balance: The Joy of Cycling and Training
Setting his sights on a goal, Axel aimed to achieve a weekly cycling milestone of 100 miles. He recognized the delicate balance between training and maintaining a genuine enjoyment of the sport. “Training for a century ride can lead to not enjoying it and then leaving the sport,” Axel wisely observes, emphasizing the importance of finding joy in the process.
Axel’s approach to cycling is a testament to his authenticity. While he doesn’t dismiss the allure of racing, he acknowledges that it’s not his preferred avenue. “I’m not against racing, it’s just not for me,” he asserts, carving out a space for his own unique journey.
Serendipity on Two Wheels: How COVID Sparked Axel’s Cycling Odyssey
Axel’s foray into cycling was serendipitous, ignited by the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic. As remote work confined him to his desk and couch, he sought an escape outdoors. A failed attempt at running left him wondering, but cycling beckoned with a promise of adventure and freedom.
Reading about cycling piqued Axel’s interest, prompting him to embark on a journey that he once believed was beyond his reach. Armed with determination, he purchased a Trek FX3 hybrid bike—a fortuitous find during a time when the finding a bike was nearly impossible. As Axel embarked on his inaugural ride, he recalls questioning his decision: “Why am I doing this?” Yet, those initial doubts gradually transformed into milestones of progress.
From Doubts to Distance: Axel’s Milestone Evolution
From a modest start of 5 miles, Axel’s dedication propelled him to reach 10 miles within three months. As the months rolled by, his endurance continued to grow. In just a year, he was comfortably cruising at 30 miles. Axel’s dedication was unwavering; he pedaled his way to success, reaching a point where a 23-25 mile ride became his shortest route, enabling him to achieve his 100-mile weekly goal.
Axel’s journey was not a solitary one. He discovered camaraderie within the cycling community, aligning perfectly with his introverted nature. “Cycling was a way to ‘meet’ people without having to do much talking since everybody was riding,” he shares, highlighting the unique social dynamics of the sport.
Group Dynamics: The Half Fast Cycling Group Connection
His involvement with the Half Fast Cycling Group, which started sporadically, offered him a chance to connect with fellow cyclists. That connection has led him to lead one of their rides twice per month. The group rides provided a blend of physical activity, mental rejuvenation, and post-ride bonding over pizza and beer.
As Axel’s passion deepened, so did his commitment. He upgraded from his Trek FX3 to a Specialized Roubaix, a testament to the progress he had made. Reflecting on his journey, Axel acknowledges underestimating the extent of his transformation. “Got more comfortable with lycra,” he chuckles, pointing out the evolution in his perspective as he embraced the attire often associated with serious cyclists.
Triumph over Trials: Axel’s Tenacity and Second Nature
Not immune to challenges, Axel’s path was punctuated by a fall while attempting to clip into his pedals. With determination, he conquered this hurdle, making the once-daunting task second nature.
Slow and Steady: Axel’s Sage Advice for Aspiring Cyclists
For those embarking on a similar journey, Axel offers simple yet profound advice. “Slow will make you faster,” he emphasizes, underscoring the significance of gradual progress. But above all, he encourages others to find the joy that clicks with them. “Have fun. Find something that clicks with you and that you enjoy,” Axel advocates, encapsulating the heart of his endurance pursuit.
Embracing Your Unique Path to Endurance Success
In a world where competition often reigns supreme, Axel Rivera’s journey stands as a testament to the power of personal growth, community, and the pursuit of authentic joy. As athletes search for ways to delve into endurance sports through cycling, Axel’s story shines as a beacon of inspiration, reminding us all that the path to success is as unique as the individuals who tread upon it.