Change Your Thoughts & You Will See Change Around You: Vinita Jain, Cyclist
Dr Vinita S Jain is a dental surgeon by profession and an avid runner and cyclist by passion. She completed the G2G ride from India Gate to Gateway of India in December 2018. Jain shares with us her life journey and her passion for cycling.
Cycling and running have been as much a part of me as anything else. I won my first bicycle in 1991 as a part of a campaign and since then I have travelled far and wide on the two wheels. However, I started paying more attention to my profession and this took a back seat for 14 years. But in 2012, I decided to pursue my passion again. When I started running again, I could barely run even a 100 m but I didn’t give up and I soon progressed from a forgotten sports enthusiast to a marathon runner in about a year and a half.
Since my first 5km run at Pinkathon to my first ADHM ( Airtel Delhi half marathon) in 2013, I have run numerous prestigious Half marathons and ultra running events. The longest being a 12-hour stadium run in 2016 December with a podium finish.
Born and brought up in Delhi, I have always been inclined towards sports since childhood. I was a part of my school athletics team and a permanent member and player in my school basketball team for six years. Also, I was the captain of my school basketball team and got selected to represent the Delhi state basketball team in 1990-1991 but due to my studies and a conservative and protective family background, I had to drop out. On the professional front, I have been in private practice for the last 20 years working diligently to spread beautiful smiles all over. I am married and have two kids.
Cycling happened all these years as a cross-training for my running until I started the kids cycling group Eagles and very soon I started cycling longer distances but never beyond 50 km at a stretch. In 2016, inspired by two of my run buddies, one who finished his Ironman title, while the other a female and a doctor training silently to be an Ironman, I dared to dream of doing Ironman myself. This was a turning point in my cycling journey. I, slowly, started building my endurance around competitive cycling and in about a year’s time, I graduated from a novice, fun rider to a serious rider.
I moved to racing bikes and completed my SR title (Super Randonneuer) within 2.5 months, which normally is to be done within one AUDAX calendar year (mine happened in the calendar year from 1st November 2017-31st October 2018.)
The G2G ride (India gate to Gateway of India) by Delhi Randonneurs was launched in 2016 and I heard about it in 2017 when I set my eyes on nailing it. After training for one year, I took up this Herculean task of riding on a bike (G2G 2018 w.e.f 15/12/18- 20/12/2018) with 15 other odd riders from all walks of life. In fact, there were only two females in the entire group who were attempting the ride. I was the only female to attempt it from Delhi. G2G for me wasn’t just a ride but a challenge to my own self to be able to defeat my own perceptions around weakness and failures of a human mind.
I knew that it will be a constant war between the mind and the body, especially after the third day. But if the mind has been trained well, the physical weakness will be overcome surely.
G2G for me wasn’t just a ride but a challenge to my own self to be able to defeat my own perceptions around weakness and failures of a human mind.
Cycling for an environmental cause
The youngsters in my neighbourhood who have taken to cycling are veritable examples.These kids have been cycling since they were nine, as a means to reduce our carbon footprints. I started cycling with these small ignited minds and slowly from colony lanes we moved out to the main roads. Gradually, we started covering distances like 35-50 km and not only did this helped the kids develop a belief in themselves but also inculcated discipline for the norms and rules of the road. This largely helped them bring about a remarkable change in their own lifestyle and thought processes and take up the challenge to be the change for a better future. People asked me, “why kids?” Why don’t you start a cycling group with adults?
Gradually, we started covering distances like 35-50 km and not only did this helped the kids develop a belief in themselves but also inculcated discipline for the norms and rules of the road.
My reply to them was simple “nature needs heroes, and for me, these kids are my heroes.”
My next target rather dream is an Ironman race and I have set my eyes on 2020 as a target year for it. Ironman is an ultra-endurance triathlon race which involves 3.8 km of open water swim (2 hrs 20 min cutoff time), 183 km cycling (7-8 hrs cutoff time), 42.2 km running (6 hrs cutoff time). There is 10-15 min transition time in between each. I will start my official training for it from February this year.
My Bucket List
Though the bucket list is endless, I would want to take one dream at a time. Post this, I may tour the Nilgiris, the Golden Triangle, the Kalinga, Delhi-Nepal ride. Only time and preparation will tell how well I take up these.
A life-changing experience
Running and long distance cycling have been a life-changing experience for me. It started with a simple idea to do what I love doing the most and be happy inside. But frankly speaking, I had never thought that these last six years will help me find myself and fall in love with a person I had locked inside forever. I was extremely low on self-esteem and self-respect owing to a lot of family problems and failed or rather complicated relationships after marriage. The only thing that kept me going on was a faint hope that things will change someday and despite everything, my husband still supported me a lot, in his own ways.
I had never thought that these last six years will help me find myself and fall in love with a person I had locked inside forever.
My runs and my rides, however, became my salvation and helped me get rid of all the negativity that had piled up in my heart. It also helped me come across selfless, beautiful, inspiring souls and I ended up making some of my best friends.
Lessons I learnt from my hardships
My hardships taught me important lessons for life and a few got imprinted forever. I learnt that pain is temporary, quitting is forever. And realised that our kids don’t need a perfect mom, they need a happy one. Moreover, I learnt both what it means to go solo and also how teamwork builds your strength. One needs to choose when to go solo or as a team. Letting go always helps you cleanse and free your heart and soul.
I also realised that our kids don’t need a perfect mom, they need a happy one. I learnt both what it means to go solo and also how teamwork builds your strength.
My message to everyone
Life can only be understood backwards but it must be lived forwards. Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground, enjoy your life but don’t let go of your goals, make the most of everything, travel where you want to, take the courses you dread the most, follow your dreams, go wild and carry that attitude if that what makes you. Change your thoughts and you will see change around you.
The views expressed are the author’s own.