By JOSH QUIGLEY, Round-the-World endurance cyclist
AS PART of Men’s Health Week 2020, I want to share some things I’ve learned and how I’ve been able to overcome adversity.
NO-ONE will forget this year. So many people are struggling, so many are isolating, and so many are turning to junk food or even upping their alcohol consumption to cope.
Some basic daily healthy habits have gone out of the window.
But it doesn’t have to be this way . . .
I’d like to share with you a strategy and a mindset that has helped me spot opportunities in troubling times and use adversity as a means to grow, learn and become a greater version of myself.
My first real brush with adversity came back in 2015. After a break-up with my long-term girlfriend, I felt into a dark depression and was struggling to deal with life on my own. Things finally came to a breaking point six months later when I attempted suicide by intentionally crashing my car on the motorway near my home.
I survived—and I decided to get my life back on track.
I was inspired to get into cycling by Sir Chris Hoy, and I decided I would attempt to cycle around the world. This despite the fact that I was severely overweight, unfit, out of shape and—most importantly—not a cyclist!
I knew that I needed extreme results, and that required drastic action. Cycling around the world was my way of doing this—and to start my journey to happiness.
I spent a year cycling around the world and, after covering 10,000 miles through 14 countries, I decided to come back home to Scotland.
I didn’t achieve the goal of cycling around the world, but I was happy again and I felt ready to come back home and resume my life.
But I quickly slipped back into old habits and unhealthy ways of life—and my newfound health and happiness were gone.
I repeatedly got back on the bike and went for more round-the-world cycling attempts, only to keep coming back home every time I felt better.
I eventually managed to settle back into life in Scotland again, but my father’s death from cancer led to another depression, and I found myself back on the bike once again trying to cycle around the world.
This was my seventh attempt and I decided that I was going to complete it. So I set off from Scotland on April 14th, 2019 and I never looked back.
On that journey, I encountered many obstacles and challenges. My bike was stolen, I got stuck in the Alps during heaving snowfall, I had food poisoning in Azerbaijan and severe dehydration in China. And a damaged passport in Australia meant I had to fly back to the UK for a replacement.
All these obstacles would have stopped me in the past, but with my newfound commitment, they were never going to get in the way.
However, there was one final big obstacle in America at the end of 2019 . . .
I was 14,500 miles into the challenge—I only had 3,500 miles and three weeks of cycling left before I would arrive back in Edinburgh having cycled around the world. But I was involved in an accident in Texas, where a car hit me from behind at 70mph.
I was hospitalised and in rehab for five weeks. I had a long list of injuries that included a fractured skull, traumatic brain injury, seven broken ribs and multiple fractures across my back and down my legs.
But from the moment I was conscious in the hospital, I knew I was going to get back on the bike and finish the challenge. This was just another obstacle to overcome.
After just three weeks of rehabilitation, I was cycling on an indoor bike while sat sat in my wheelchair with my foot in a cast.
Seven weeks later I was riding an indoor bike in my home, and then after ten weeks, I was back out on the road. Less than six months after my accident, my injuries are all fully healed. I’m fitter than I was before the crash and I’ve even been winning some of my local Strava segments.
My recovery and my rehabilitation have been made possible by so many hard-working and supportive people.
Firstly to my medical team in America, who slowly but surely put me back together and helped me recover from the life-threatening injuries. I have also been lucky to have very supportive sponsors in Elixinol. The company’s financial support and CBD products have helped me and supported my physical recovery. Shand Cycles—my other sponsors—built me a brand new bike after mine was destroyed in the crash.
Covid-19 and the global travel situation has stopped me in my tracks for now. But it’s given me the chance to focus on my health, sorting out my weight and eating habits. I’ve also taken up yoga and started learning French.
If you have ever said you were going to lose weight, but never had the time to cook healthy meals – now is the time.
If you have ever said you were going to start exercising, but never had the time to work out – now is the time.
If you have ever said you were going to cut out alcohol but couldn’t beat the temptation of your mates going to the pub at the weekend – now is the time.
It is possible to overcome adversity. Use these troubling times to become a greater version of yourself!
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