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Is Esteban crazy for attempting to ride 82km in his 40s?

If you have been following the Optimo Home Loans blogs, you'll know that our head honcho, Esteban Mesa, signed up to participate in the Sydney to Wollongong Ride. It's a charity ride, one which raises money for those with multiple sclerosis. (We're currently more than halfway to our fundraising target! Click here to add your $5.)

The MS Sydney Wollongong Charity Ride is 82km in length. The course itself starts at Tempe Recreation Park. Taking riders through Botany Bay, the route goes to the top of the Royal National Park, then down to Bald Hill (still 300 m above sea level), and on down to Wollongong.

So the question on everybody's lips is: Aren't you crazy doing this in your 40s?

It's the most commonly stated phrase: "It's mad, Esteban!"

But, crazy or not, Esteban doesn't think it really is so insane. The thing that his age has taught him is that his biggest fight is against himself.

Past injuries are a reminder of his age

In a previous life, Esteban was a very high level volleyball player. This did some great things for him - such as teach him how to train for high performance. But it also left him with injuries. The injuries are starting to remind him that he's not as young as he used to be.

'I have some old injuries that aren't problematic, but if I don't exercise, they could be,' Esteban explained. 'That's why I went back to technique. Without good technique - at this time of life - you open yourself not just to new injuries but also to feeling the old ones.'

Esteban talked about this some more in our [our last post](link), explaining how he found the technique he needed.

Rising before 5 am is a new challenge

Getting up at 0430 every day just to get in a day's training has proven to layer on another challenge. Interestingly, the key thing getting Esteban through his race preparation is his own drive for perfection.

'I think about what it will be like when I've achieved my target,' Esteban told us. 'For example: I have achieved 206 km riding this week. My target was 200 km. If I hadn't woken up this morning, I would have been disappointed in myself.'

As he went on to explain, his way of thinking pushes him through. On the other side of the equation is his body and how it makes him feel.

'That's what it means for me, being over 40,' he said. 'I just keep focused, tell myself to keep my eyes on the goal and try to achieve it. That's what gets me through.'

The MS Sydney Wollongong Charity Ride is not just all about personal challenge. It's about riding with others.

The Charity Ride isn't all sweat, dark mornings, and personal challenge. It's also about rising above yourself and working with others to achieve great things.

Riding with other people starts to become a much bigger project, because it involves more responsibility. You have to be able to pace yourself if they aren't as fit or fast, and you have to have the group's goal in mind so that everyone enjoys it.

Esteban has been building this into his training by trying more often to ride with others. In his first ride, his riding buddy got a flat tyre,and urged him onwards. Instead, Esteban stayed back to help him fix the tyre. They got it done more quickly together, and then were both able to enjoy the ride.

'It's got more to it than it seems, riding with other people,' Esteban explained. 'At the end of the day it's just riding, but that's only if you look at the *riding* part.'

Life is all about challenging yourself to achieve new heights

The MS Sydney Wollongong Charity Ride has cemented Esteban's perspective about challenging yourself in life. He believes that everyone can do it. It's not just for a special few.

'In a way, it's like that's the beauty of life,' Esteban reflected. 'It's going the extra yard, it's doing things for others, and it's challenging yourself when you do it. For the people who call me mad, I say: It's a great cause. It makes me feel awesome. When I finish a training ride, I feel *so good* and really accomplished. So I say, try it out and see how you feel. You'll feel like you came back to life again.'

Help Esteban to reach his donation goal of $750 by 31 October.

The MS Sydney Wollongong Charity Ride is raising money for MS sufferers, and every dollar helps. Getting up at 4:30am and riding up a hill might not be your ideal way to spend your time. But by donating even $2 to the cause, you'll be improving life for others. Click here to donate now.


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