Friday, 9 March 2012
3. I Think I Can
When I was a little girl, I remember reading about the little engine who “thought he could” and who then went on to conquer hills that other bigger brighter and even wiser engines thought were just too big for him.
Today, Matt, my super fit husband, cajoled me to join him on his bike ride. And so, armed with Maroon 5 on my iPhone (for distraction), we set off to conquer Mount Faber on our bikes.
For those not in-the-know, Mount Faber is home to one of the oldest parks in Singapore and is also the launching pad from which you hitch a scenic ride on a cable car that takes you on a scenic route to activity-filled Sentosa island. It is also a hill about 105 meters (344 feet) in HEIGHT! GULP!
So, the ride begins, in post Singapore morning downpour, navigating through the traffic and puddles. Paddling earnestly behind Matt, I am on the receiving end of all the back splash the grooves of his tyres whip up. Before long, I am covered from head-to-toe in black back-splash-splatters and I half expect animal protection service to pull me over and lock me in an enclosure for some exotic speckled primate.
Unperturbed, we keep peddling and end up at the foot of the fabled Mount Faber. (Sorry about the pun but I cannot seem to help myself!) The climb begins easily enough but it doesn’t take long before I can no longer keep up with Matt and his bike’s back splash as the hill takes on a life of its own and feels like a sheer stairway to heaven! I change gears to the lowest ones possible in an effort to tackle what now feels more like a summit than a “hill” and my thigh muscles feel like they’re on fire.
Next thing I know, the image of the “little engine that could” flashed into my sweat clouded mind and the words “I think I can, I think I can” break through Adam Levine’s (front man of Maroon 5) lament of “Misery”. I try to distract myself further by watching a bright yellow butterfly fly past, only to notice a bird, hopping alongside my sweltering attempts to ‘master’ the hill. Let’s just say the bird got bored pretty fast and flew off to find something more interesting to hop alongside. Am I exaggerating my efforts? No. Was there really a bird? Perhaps. Anyhow, I digress. Getting back to my summit…
Finally, I see a turn! Surely this means the road will level out a little and offer me a brief respite. Nope. It was quite likely some road planner’s diabolical joke to lull novice cyclists into a false sense of security. Each turn simply graduated into a steeper hill which just seemed to go on forever. Aaaaarghh! Who’s idea was this anyhow! I call out to Matt. “I think I’ve changed my mind about this bike ride! Let’s go to the gym instead!” He just laughs and calls out to just keep peddling and keep my gears low. “Barnie just did 20 laps of this last weekend” he quips.
“Barney”? He’s comparing Barney and I? Me of 5 foot nearly 4, 53kgs and shoe size 37 and him at 10 foot something with no body fat and feet the size of don’t-take-me-there? AND he’s younger than me by a good 4-5 years! All of this, runs through my head when suddenly, I see flat road in the distance! Can it really be or is this like a mirage in the desert?
True enough, despite being outrun (or out hopped) by a bird (which was quite possibly mocking) and drenched in hard-earned sweat and back splash from Matt’s bike, I had finally reached the top of Mount Faber! “Didn’t you enjoy that?” asked my bemused and patient husband. “Yup! That was awesome but I can’t feel my legs anymore” I respond. To which he just laughs and says, “Come on! Let’s do a couple more laps of this!”
Sigh. And so we did the circuit a couple more times, much to the amusement of the bus load of Taiwanese (I think) tourists surveying the Singapore vista. Now, finally home and freshly showered (though still waiting for feeling to return to my legs!) I sit here musing this morning’s adventure, and a note my brother, also a Matthew, sent me this past week pops into my psyche:
Whether you think you can, or think you can’t. You’re right.