After shaking off the after effects of Stage 7(Gold Pan Saloon where I conducted my second annual dance of shame – I always feel like a monkey on the dancefloor) last Saturday morning, I drove back to Boulder. I had about an hour to drop off my stuff, pack another suitcase and beeline for the airport. I have no valid complaints about my travel schedule this month. It’s all self-inflicted. I hate missing out on things, so I try to cram every minute full of life (and I STILL miss out on so many things!) I hopped on a plane to Albuquerque for my 10 year high school reunion. In the end due to a lack of organization, the reunion was small but it was really fun to see 20-30 people again and most whom I haven’t seen in we parted ways one day in May of 2001. It was weird – in some ways it felt like no time had passed but then it also felt like ages. Some of my old classmates had children. Some of them admired me for all the bike racing and travel, but I have to say that I admired them for raising children. It’s a very selfless commitment and while I watched one girl chase around her 2 yr old son, I wondered how my life would have been different if I had never turned a pedal and gotten into racing. I thought, “I wonder if that will be me some day? Maybe? It looks kinda fun, I think. Well, sorta…”
The reunion was also a chance to pause and reflect on everything I have done in the last 10 years and the person I have grown to be (I refrain from saying “matured” haha). It doesn’t feel like I’m 28… I don’t feel much different in the last 4 years or so, but I think of the many many memories, accomplishments, relationships, lessons, and failures since I got my high school diploma. A great deal has happened in that time (honestly, I had no idea that mountain biking even existed 10 years ago). When I was 16, my dream was to finish my engineering degree, make a lot of money, buy a house, get married at 23 and have kids. I laugh out loud. My, how things have changed! I did finish my engineering degree, but I started bike racing, moved to Boulder for grad school as an excuse to continue bike racing (and got my Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering) and soon after renounced the profession! I am certainly not married although I have a handful of serious relationships I hold close to my heart and I don’t have kids, but maybe someday. I don’t have any regrets and am proud for what I’ve done both academically and athletically – it’s more than I ever could have imagined. It’s not where I expected to be 10 years from my high school graduation, but I’m very happy and surprised. I’m happy with the person I’ve grown to be since high school and will continue to aspire to be better, continue to live with passion, to dream, to say I CAN and I WILL, to do things with courage, confidence, and integrity, to forgive myself when I screw up, to face my fears, to love life to infinity, and to work on improving in areas where I don’t excel. As cheesy as this sounds, lately I’ve been striving to look at people with an open heart and with patience. With as much time as I spend on the road and crossing paths with many different people, I have plenty of time to exercise compassion for my fellow human. I’ve admitted to myself that I’m sensitive and it’s ok to be that way. It’s easy to try to be a hard ass jock, but in the last year I’ve decided, “What for?” Allowing myself to be vulnerable is more genuine (and difficult) than putting up a badass front all the time. It’s something I continually work on – allowing myself to be vulnerable. I’m not even going to try to think where I’ll be 10 years from now – who knows. How exciting!
Speaking of vulnerability, and shifting back to bike racing – allowing myself to be vulnerable has taught me how to feel more comfortable trying to win races. I’ve been fortunate enough to tuck away a few more wins this year and have definitely thrown caution to the wind a little more.
“To move into the lead means an act requiring fierceness and confidence. But fear must play some part. No relaxation is possible, and all discretion is thrown to the wind.” -Roger Bannister in Born to Run
Leading: you’re vulnerable, you surrender all element of surprise, and become a prisoner of your own pace. (Also from Born to Run)
Anyway, I got in one quick ride on Sunday morning in Albuquerque in the North Foothills. My friend was very generous and let me borrow his bike. He teased, “I know what it’s like to need a fix, happy to help!” haha. Bike junkie.
Sunday night was very special. It was the eve of my 28th birthday and my brother, grandparents, and my parents were there. My mom slaved away to prepare an amazing meal. I felt lucky. It was priceless.
Monday morning, I hopped on another plane at 7 AM and flew to Oregon for a work trip. First stop was in Portland for a couple of days. I visited nearly 20 bike shops and got to see 3 different girlfriends who had moved away. It was really great to spend time with each of them although I wish I could have had more time! From there, I drove to Bend singing at the top of my lungs and straight to Deschutes Brewery. The great thing about visiting an actual brewery are the sample platters – teeny glasses of beer where I typically choose the pilot or special beers that are not bottled or available for purchase other than at the brewery. I geeked out appropriately as some of you may have seen on the twitter.
The next morning, I downed some coffee and visited all the bike shops in Bend and hopped on another plane back to Denver.
Today I’m heading up to Breckenridge, CO. I got home late last night, but my parents planned a little vacation up here this weekend. Breck has been my 2nd home over the past few summers! I’m excited to get back on the bike. I’ve ridden just once since the Breck Epic ended and excited to slow down for a day or two and spend quality time with Mom and Dad. It’ll be cool to see the Tour of Colorado come through Breck on Saturday too!
Next: I leave for Park City on Wednesday for some work stuff and then the Park City Point to Point – 75 miles, all singletrack, 14,000’ of climbing! I will have slept in my own bed 3 times in the last 3.5 weeks by the time I get back from Park City. At least my room stays clean! I hope I’m recovered from Breck Epic and all the travel, but I’m honestly not expecting to feel great at the race. I learned my lesson with expectations and burning the candle at both ends in May. It ended with mediocre race performance, but I’m sure going to try and hope for the best next weekend! Who knows – maybe I’ll have hero legs! The best part is the women’s field – some of my favorite people to race with and some incredibly strong women!
That’s all for now.