This year can be summed up in two words, growing pains. This review is going to be a list, with bullet points because that is they easiest way for me to sort out exactly what went on over the last 12 months. It was a long year. One of the hardest I have encountered in my 26 years of being alive. This post is going to be pretty honest. I trust you all. For some reason… 🙂 This recap is for me, but sharing it is important too.
- I tackled the Tuscobia 75 miler and was the first lady to finish. It took about 9 hours.
- Triple D was mostly mud and I felt like I was completely covered in limestone. Ew. I was first lady. This also took around 9 hours. This race also set the trend for the year, mud.
- I was doing a lot of really great training, leading ladies rides, and going on my shops rides.
- There were no races in February. It was a nice time to clear out my head.
- I quit bus driving this month after 2 years of driving. I am still not quite sure what I was planning.
- I announced my Salsa Cycle sponsorship this month!
- My training was still going really well. I was working with great coaches.
- Landrun 100 was magical. I wrote about that here. I felt really strong and confident, despite all of the mud.
- I added a new friend to my life, Steph. She has gotten me through a lot this year. I don’t know why I picked March to bring her into 2015, but she is very important to me.
- I went bike camping once this month!
- TransIowa happened. I got pummeled with rain and mud. Again. Everyone knows that story by now. Nobody made it. We all tried! This was my fourth attempt.
- I taught my bike touring class at the University of Iowa twice this month. I love getting people on bikes, especially college aged students.
- I bought a Spearfish. My first geared mountain bike!
- I was still crushing my training.
- Also I was doing a great job staying single and away from all the boys. I was battling with myself about one situation in particular. The person didn’t even matter. That was the problem.
- I taught my first over-night bike touring class. This was one of the major 2015 highlights. Taking college-aged students completely outside of Iowa City and showing them how awesome this state is.
- Dirty Kanza 200 happened. If you click on that it will take you to my story about it! This was my third time taking on the flint hills. I finished fourth lady overall and very, very happy with how I performed. All of the training I had put in since January really paid off. My coaches were still with me and I felt great.
- The Kanza really did do a number to me though. But I was glad I put all of me out there and finished strong.
- I was still debt free and boy free at this point.
- This is where things get weird.
- I started wasting time. With a boy. He really was pointless. Bummer.
- I went to the Chequamegon 100 and got rained on some more. This race was a DNF. I was really upset about this one. I have finished this race in arguably harder conditions. This put me a little more off track.
- I turned 26.
- I flew to Philidelphia with my Dad to try and buy a car. It didn’t work. We flew back that same day. And we lost the keys to his car. As I type that out I realize it is kind of funny. It was a long day to say the least. I spent a lot of time on the bus the circles the parking lot at O’Hare.
- I spent this month pretty lost. I thought June was tough. This was a little harder.
- I went to my first Saddledrive. It was amazing. I met some wonderful people and rode bikes in the mountains for the first time ever. EVER.
- I moved this month. That wasn’t the greatest plan. At least I got rid of a lot of stuff. I pick the best times to move.
- Our manager, Eddie, left the shop. That put me in his shoes. Eddie shoes are really big.
- I went to Maah Daah Hey and got my butt handed to me. There wasn’t mud, but I was way out of my element. Life lesson #3423: Do the shorter first. Especially if you have no idea what you are getting into. Remember I mentioned I just got my first geared MTB in April. I am going back to Maah Daah Hey to do a shorter distance first. Lesson learned.
- The Maah Daah Hey DNF hit me pretty hard. My training was all but non-existent. Since Dirty Kanza I had been struggling to get back on the bike. I wasn’t using my coaches anymore due to lack of funds.
- I went to Gravel Worlds and crushed it. I think it was whatever fumes I had left in the tank. I finished in third place. I love this race and I will be back.
- I got to see one of my best-friends, Audrey. She has magical powers and can always pick me up. It was nice to have a bit of clarity when I thought things were going down the wrong path. The path was just super bumpy at this point.
- I started dating a new person. Another not so great idea. I was excited for a new person in my life that seemed promising. He met my family and everything. He wanted to take me on a big trip. Maybe, I should have payed a little more attention to myself.
- I stopped taking my anti-depressant. This was the first year in a long time that I had stuck with it. Every since January I was on track. I thought I felt great. I didn’t need to take a little pill everyday. But really, I didn’t put any thought into stopping. I just stopped. Cold turkey. Depression and anxiety are things that run in my family. I have been working on it ever since high-school. Working out is a huge part of it, but so is sticking to a schedule, and I broke out of it. I was inspired by a post on Facebook that Callie put up about anxiety. I can’t find the exact post, but it got to me. I have never been one to be shy about me. My depression and anxiety are a part of me. I know what I need to do to keep it under control. But sometimes I get off track.
- The track that I ended up going down put me in a lot of debt. Physically, financially, emotionally. I didn’t care. Or try. August was scary.
- I was still in a weird place.
- I had a truck. That truck needed a new engine though.
- I did the Colesburg 40. This was the first gravel race I ever did, nearly 6 years ago now. I needed that race, it was a nice slap in the face. Ask someone from Iowa who rides gravel about it. 😉
- I taught another bike touring class. I love teaching.
- My best friend was getting ready to get married. I was supposed to be the maid of honor and I did a really, really bad job.
- Training was still non-existent.
- I went/got taken to Colorado. I missed the Salsa Ride Camp because of that trip. I am still a little mad at myself for not going to MN instead of CO.
- I decided to go do the Heck of the North. Completely on a whim. I love that race and Jeremy. He is pretty much the only reason I could go. I was still putting myself into debt, but this race is important to me and I really wanted to be there. He helped make that happen in so many ways. Namely letting me stay with his family. I am surrounded by so many wonderful people.
- Morgan, the best-friend ever, got married. I still wasn’t the greatest maid of honor. I didn’t have any money to really support the wedding.
- Had a pretty massive meltdown that ended the relationship with the person who took me to Colorado. He was a child and was just a wrong fit for me.
- I signed up for TransIowa, Tuscobia, and Arrowhead.
- I made a lot of weird decisions.
- One of the best decisions was reconnecting with a long time friend, Peter.
- Holidays and stuff. Family time and people.
- A new fat-bike was introduced to me. This thing woke me up.
- I started visiting with Peter. He lives in freaking Chicago.
- I tried to do some ladies clinics at the shop and wasn’t really feeling it. I was still pretty over-whelmed with debt and trying to figure out where all of my money went.
- I was still not riding my bike. That didn’t help my depression, but I was back on my medicine. I started about mid-month.
- I was also planning on moving. This was very stressful. OK, extremely stressful. Trying to find roommates and money to pay for a deposit were not successful.
- I got a funky hair-cut.
- I got a new lease, that I signed eventually.
- It snowed like, once.
- I rode my bike through Illinois.
- I was still taking my medication.
- My car was fixed. With a new engine and everything.
- I spent lots of time staring at walls wondering why I signed up for so many long races in January.
This year would not have been possible without my support system. My family. My friends. None of this. Listed just like on an album cover are all the people who made this year possible.
My Mom, the number one TransIowa support crew member, lady who puts up with me calling her at 4 in the morning because I have a headache (maybe that just happened or maybe not…), the person who I want to make proud, the most badass lady I know, and I will do everything I can to be as strong as her. My Dad for putting up with my ranting about the things I want him to build for me, because he is a carpenter and I am always needing new chairs and stuff. My Brother. He is my number one. He has lived with me for the past 5 years, not counting the 6 months I tried to move out, yes, I do live with my little Brother. He has taught me more about bicycles and life than he knows. He is my best friend. We may not be the fastest Brother-Sister Duo on bikes, but we are by far the best, there is no pair better. Grandma and Grandpa for being the most proud of their family. They give the best hugs, fight me about it. They are the best hugs.
Levi, Bryan, Aaron, Drew, Alex, Eddie, Ryan Baker, Chrispi, Kelsi, Sam, THE WORLD OF BIKES CREW. Without them I would have never made it to a race. They have worked for me, watched me freak out over every detail, given me high-fives, let me borrow cars, gear, bikes, and have literally gone above and beyond.
Salsa Cycles for believing in me. For supporting me in every way they can. They are the only bikes I want to ride. HED Cycles for magical wheels to don the Warbird. Fat-Bike.com has tirelessly helped me hone my blogging and reporting skills. Their trust in me builds my confidnce every time I ride my fat-bikes. 45NRTH is a new supporter and will be by my side for every winter to come. Tuscobia and Arrowhead would have been exponentially harder without them.
Steph, Audrey, Morgan, Peter, Chad, Bailey, Jeremy, Tina and Joe, Lance, Steve, Leah, Adam, Gomez, Rage, Craig, Paul, all of the Sams, Kristin, the Kershaws, Farber, John Gay, Tim Ek, Carrie, A.J, Crystal and I am sure I left out particular names, but if you gave me a high-five, tried to help with my crazy ideas, did actually help, give me a place to stay, a ride somewhere, directions, food, encouraging words, criticizing words, taught me something, told me to do something better, let me hold your baby, pet your dog, pat your cat, drink your beers, wait for me after I got lost, and left an impression. Thank you. Thank you for being a part of my 2015. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel that I kind of dug for myself.
I am excited for 2016. Currently I should be packing for Tuscobia. I haven’t yet. I am honestly still in a weird place. I am not ready for this race. I just got done moving, signing leases, and writing checks for landlords. I signed up to drive a school bus again. I need to sign up for more events. So far it’s Landrun, TransIowa, Dirty Kanza, Cheq 100, and Gravel Worlds. Throw some stuff at me people! Get me to new states! New places! The picture for 2016 is becoming more and more clear. It is obviously going to be hard and take lots of work, but I would rather have that than the opposite. I want to be challenged and I am ready.
BRING IT ON!
p.s: i am not doing triple d. i am so very sorry and feel super duper sad about missing it.