Yesterday Landrun sent out an email about water. They designated the 100 mile “race” and 50 mile “ride”. No water and support for 100 mile “race”. Water and pie for the 50 mile “ride”.
They mention “self-supported” and what that means, which I don’t totally agree with. A checkpoint is support, that is not your “self.”
Checkpoints have always eluded me. Not because I’m a giant ass, just because I never got far enough to organize myself to use them. What I have done at checkpoints is see friends, find friends, share water and snacks. Sometimes that means at a “checkpoint” or at a gas station. That’s why I finish events.
I am a competitive person by nature. My mother pushed me beyond what I wanted. She made me uncomfortable from the start. Forcing me to go to karate lessons, I earned my black belt. Dragging me to rowing practice, I was a collegiate rower. After quitting rowing in 2009, I had the ability to find a new passion. Years of discipline helped lead me to ultra-endurance cycling. Steadily since 2011 long distance gravel events have taken over.
I’m getting prepped for Landrun. Thinking back to last year I was ready for this race. My terms of ready meant I had been doing CrossFit since July, riding the trainer, and just generally being strong. Compare this year to last year; I’m not the same kind of ready. My fitness is at a different level, I did yoga for a month this winter, have been practicing cooking, and am still being strong. My longest ride since October was this past Saturday, and it felt great. I got a bike fit done, found a new saddle, and just generally feeling myself. That handful of things will get me pretty far. I am comfortable riding my bike, alone, for 8+ hours, in horrible weather, with terrible snacks. This is my happy place, also an uncomfortable place, but that’s why I finish my events.
Let me tell you about another thing that makes me uncomfortable. They are simple questions, with no bad intentions, pure questions, totally fair questions.
I will ask people to ride with me, “No way, you’re too fast, I would hold you back.”
Or during a 200 mile event people will ask, “What are you doing back here”, concerned I am going so slow something must be wrong. (i mean they probably think. like am i doing better? is this ok? should i slow down?) NO. We are all going to the same place.
Every single ride Levi will tell me that I will catch him. Or see ya later, thinking I will ride faster.
When I ride my bike it’s an everyday occurrence. When I race my bike it’s to see whether or not I can rip off my legs. The past two years I have had a hard time ripping off my legs. It’s like they didn’t even show up. I didn’t have much to stand on. Feeling lost and tired I pedaled my way to the end of events like TransIowa, Dirty Kanza, Gravel Worlds, and Landrun. Just finish the thing. There’s that discipline and a whole lot of being stubborn. And when I ride my bike it’s just like when I race it. I use gas stations and self support myself all over the place.
Let’s talk about Levi. He is one of my best friends and mechanics at World of Bikes. Levi and I finished the IC Gravel race this past October.
The IC Gravel race was extremely hard. It was a terribly terrible 100 miles. It took 12 hours. That is the kind of suffering I save for myself, not my besties. Since then, maybe twice, he has been expressing confusion. Should he really have been riding the I.C gravel race? He wasn’t racing. He didn’t have fancy outfits on or numbers to chase.
I knew within the first 6 miles that I would ride with Levi all day.
I’m never sure if Levi believes me, but I think he does. He understands that I just want to ride my bike. Levi has also watched me evolve as a rider and racer. My urge to ride fast is real and he has seen it, the only reason he asks those simple questions is to make sure I am checking in with myself. The checking in is where I evolve. It’s when I figure out if I will finish a race or not*. I envelop myself in self motivational thoughts. Like a letter. I write myself a letter in my head. Last year at Landrun I was riding for over 9 hours. In the rain. I stopped for less than 10 minutes total. That what the letter I wrote myself. That is my mentality. It’s terrible, but without that I would probably just give up. Doesn’t matter how many checkpoints are there for me.
It feels good to know that Levi believes me. That was the exact speed I needed to go. IC Gravel would have been shit without Levi.
Then we scooped up Audrey and my life dreams were becoming reality. More terrible miles, mud, laughing, crying, scrapping, fixing, eating, drinking, walking. We finished after the cut-off. That was an easy decision, how else are we getting back.
Don’t hold yourself back. Ride your own ride or race. Eat your pie. Write yourself a letter.