Going the Distance. The day I learned how far i CAN go…

Going the Distance. The day I learned how far i CAN go…

It’s said hard work pays off.

I know this is true but to achieve complete success it takes more than just physical attributes and training. It takes a willingness to put your mind into a place that will not let the body stop. Our bodies are an amazing machine that are capable of far more than our minds will often let it undertake.

To succeed you need the following formula;

  • Step 1: Set a goal and make it an achievable goal,
  • Step 2: Skill/train yourself to complete the goal,
  • Step 3: Find mentors and a support network and finally
  • Step 4: Have a resolve to not quit no matter how hard it gets.

That formula is the backbone of every successful chef, restauranteur, businessperson, athlete or person who has achieved their most difficult goals.

This particular anecdote is an endurance charity ride I undertook a few years ago. Using the above principles you can definitely relate it to any worthwhile goal you want to achieve.


On the 20th March 2015 I pushed myself harder and further than any time in my 50+ years.

I climbed two of Australia’s largest mountains in a single day on a pushbike riding for the charity Distance for a Difference.

Let me start by being 100% honest, I have to tell you, I tried to give up 4 times that day.

Mentally I broke.

Physically I cracked.

Emotionally I was destroyed.

But I finished.

When I set myself this goal I wanted to achieve two very important things.

Firstly it was a great cause that made me feel good by raising much needed money (I have a young daughter and the thought of her being critically injured and not having the support network and funding to assist her is enough to make me want to support this wonderful organisation)  and secondly I wanted to conquer those mountains.

I am NOT an avid cyclist. But I put in countless hours of preparation , I had good equipment and a great support crew with mechanics and professional riders to assist  on the ride.

I was ready for the ride.

The first monstrous climb up to Charlotte Pass was tough and it took over 5 relentless hours to complete. After a 15 minute rest the peloton was formed to tackled the second climb to Thredbo. This mountain wasn’t as high but a different beast altogether.

On this second mountain climb I was dropped from the peloton after the first steep section, only two kms into the 37km climb. Two of the pro riders stayed with me. If they hadn’t this story does not get told.

The following 35km climb up the mountain was brutal. Mentally I quit 4 times, there was tears rolling down my face. Emotionally I had nothing left. My muscles were so fatigued they went into spasms. I had been in the hurt locker for so many hours I forgot what was real and what was fantasy.

My neck and shoulders ached as they cradled my head. My back hurt, my legs hurt, my lungs hurt…heck even my eyeballs hurt. I wanted to be anywhere but on that bike.

The two guys that rode with me that day created a support network more powerful than the pain I was going through. They inspired me to push through my mental barrier. They couldn’t physically do anything to help me but they never left my side. Never stopped talking to me. Never stopped encouraging me.

It was far easier for them to let me turn around and ride back to the bottom but they both knew , even if I could not see it at the time, the importance of me completing that ride. They knew the euphoric sensation I would experience when I conquered the mountain. For them it was another great ride…but they knew for me it would be a life defining moment.


Lee Burrows from White Jacket Effect at Charlottes Pass NSW



I conquered those mountains and rode over 200kms that day and climbed over 4,500 vertical metres. I experienced pure joy and self worth. It wasn’t about how quick we rode or who had done more kilometres, it was all about self achievement. There are plenty of people who have done far more than me on a bike, but that day I went to places I have never been, mentally, emotionally and physically. Some of it BAD and other parts just sensational. The most important thing I take away from that day is I created a belief in myself that I can achieve anything I truly want. I know I just have to work my way through my own negative thoughts and find my inner strength which is in abundance.


By Lee Burrows

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