150 miles. That is the plan for tomorrow. I am so freaking excited. Ever since Dirty Kanza I have had a hard time getting back on the bike. I DNF’d two races in a row and was feeling a little lost. I tried out structured coaching this year to watch it get pushed to the side. My role at World of Bikes is changing, and it’s changing quickly. I moved out of my apartment and into a new one. Some other super new things have popped into my life too. Most of the changes seem to touch on nearly every important aspect of my life. Where I live. Where I work. And my passion for cycling and just living life in general. It’s all a little overwhelming.
So I dug around and found this picture of my from 2011. Riding a $400 bike from Craigslist. No helmet. My favorite hat. A giant smile. No words are needed. That is my happy place. I remember vividly that day. Crashing into a huge rut with my best friend Audrey. Having no clue what a b-road was or even gravel. Let alone an organized event on gravel. Fast forward four years and everything is different, but I am still the same rider.
Deep down I am a competitive athlete. I started out in high-school with an amazing coach, Jamie, and a proud Mother. Between the two I was pushed to my full potential and beyond. I know that drive is still in me, it has just been blurred by the expectations I have placed on myself. I keep expecting myself to finish every race I set out for or place very well. What I really think is important is to step back. For now I am going to worry less about numbers and more about pushing myself just like I was in those early years of being an athlete. These are still the early years of riding for me! I am only 26.
That is the mentality I am going to bring to Gravel Worlds this year. Remember the original reason why I started riding gravel. Maybe take an extra minute to take in the view or try riding a tricky part of a b-road that may slow me down. No heart rate strap or power meters will be doing this thinking for me. I know this race will be hard and I will push myself to do the best I can. Really all I need to do is to just keep pedaling, and I will arrive at the finish line right when I am supposed to.
I am sure most everyone I will ride with tomorrow is sleeping. (except for Rafal because he is currently watching The Predator) But I will see you all out there tomorrow. Even if you aren’t at the race, the support and love is always palpable. For the past four years I have been offered rides to races, places to stay (e.g I am staying at Cornbread’s house tonight), showers to clean off mud for me and my bicycles, and food to eat. That’s mostly what I was getting at. I love this stuff. I love the family I have made racing my bike for the past four years. I am clearing out my mind and getting through these growing pains one mile at a time.
See ya’ll out there!