A conversation with a friends today sparked this blog post. She asked me how I am doing with only 14 days to go to the Vuelta Ride. She said that if she was in my shoes, the fear of the unknown and the failure that builds up before taking on such a challenge would keep her away from actually going for such a challenge. She breaks out in sweat and her heart is racing just thinking about doing something that is pushing her mental and physical barriers with a potential to fail.

Our conversation gave me food for thought as she might not even consider a challenge because it seems overwhelming, facing unpredictability and pushing the perceived limits to the extreme.

I completely understand.

If I was new to riding, having never ever done anything similar to that and having no idea how to prepare for that, I would be not sleeping right now because of this very same fear she described.

But collecting a good amount of kilometers over the last 9 years, having successfully completed the Haute Route Triple Crown last year and with an incredible support network that gives me the strength for this challenge let’s me not only sleep well currently but I am even now calmer than before.

It is fantastic to have big dreams. Everyone should have them. Whatever it is. That is what will drive us to perform our best.

To reduce that fear of the unknown, the unpredictability and the failure, it helps to dissect it into smaller challenges.

Let’s say you are new to cycling and wanted to ride the 3300km Vuelta a EspaƱa – the Vuelta Ride – you might want to take the first step by riding your first 50km, then maybe 100km, then 100km on two consecutive days. The fear is drastically reduced when taking small, reachable steps that make you confident for the next bigger step. With every step, you are closer to your goal.

Another important aspect is creating a network around you that will genuinely support your goals – emotionally and intellectually. With that, the fear is drastically reduced when you feel you are not taking it on alone.

Whatever your dreams – at work, a side project, travelling, family or a physical challenge – dissect it into smaller, digestible pieces and find a small group that will you support you along the way.

It is an incredible lively feeling to achieve something that seemed unachievable before.