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The Rider Who Discovered That 'Every Pedal Stroke Is a Victory'

hicago rider KEVIN ADLER summited Mt. Kilimanjaro with a little help from SoulCycle.

Every pedal stroke is a victory. I remember hearing JOSHUA say these words during a class early in my training. They really resonated with me.

I had made a decision almost a year earlier to pursue one of my bucket list goals: climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa. At 19,345 feet, Kilimanjaro is the tallest freestanding mountain in the world. I knew it would be a challenge and one I would need to commit to training for if I had a shot at making it to the summit.

While I try my best to stay in generally good shape (yoga, martial arts, running and most recently, SoulCycle) I knew I would have to step it up to become "KiliFit." I knew Soul Cycle would be a core part of my training plan.

I have been an athlete and an active outdoor lifestyle enthusiast my entire life. I have been fortunate enough to have some incredible experiences and take on some great challenges including completing several half-marathons (a full 26.2 remains on the bucket list) and summiting Mt. Rainier a few years before my Kilimanjaro attempt. I have also struggled with anxiety and depression for most of my life.

Those words from Joshua that day in class couldn’t ring more true for me — in every aspect of my life. Whether it’s working through the daily challenges that come with anxiety and depression, starting my own marketing consulting firm 11 years ago and the roller coaster ride of small business ownership, running half-marathons, climbing mountains, or working my way through the painful and difficult process of unwinding a 15 year marriage, every challenge begins with that first pedal stroke and every stroke or step thereafter is a victory.


Kilimanjaro was a beautiful experience. And a challenging one. We averaged six to eight hours of hiking and climbing each day. Some days were basically just very long walks and others were semi-technical rock scrambling and climbing at increasingly high altitudes — which means colder temperatures, higher winds, and less oxygen. On summit day, we got to sleep around 7:00 pm and woke up at 11:00 pm to start our summit push. With headlamps lighting our way, we tackled rocky terrain, high winds, and frigid temperatures. We arrived at the summit at 7:38 am, spent 40 minutes taking in the majestic views and getting our obligatory pictures for our Facebook posts, and then started our eight-hour descent to our overnight camp at 10,000 feet. It was a long day but an incredible one. And one that I got through by simply focusing on putting one foot in front of the other. Every pedal stroke is a victory.

I have had so many people ask me since my return from Kilimanjaro, “Why do you climb mountains?” For me, the simple idea of pushing myself beyond my limits by definition redefines those limits and reaffirms my confidence in my inner strength. Not to mention the breathtaking natural beauty I am so lucky to take in along the way. I get that same feeling in every SoulCycle class. Each class presents the opportunity for me to push myself and to connect to my inner strength. To be able to have that experience in the high-energy environment that SOUL creates, and with the sense of community from the instructors and my fellow riders, is a gift for which I am truly grateful. Whether it’s NORTH SHORE or OLD TOWN or anywhere else I find myself, I know the experience will always be a great one.

We all have the opportunity to tackle our own mountains and find our own summits every day. Whether it’s something as grand as Kilimanjaro or as simple as a SoulCycle class, every pedal stroke is a victory!

I look forward to many more daily victories at SoulCycle and a lifetime of literal and metaphorical summits.

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