What is my next event. People have been wondering. I have been wondering. I was signed up for my beloved Gravel Worlds. I am also signed up for the Marji Gesick race. I am doing neither. Reasons are easy and obvious.
“You look miserable.” “I think you have more integrity than this.” Those two quotes rang through my head. A reminder. Surely not a gentle one, but a loving one. Tough love. Those words came about during a conversation with my best friend the night before I left for Oklahoma. She was right. It wasn’t about one thing in particular. Just a mood I had been in for a couple of weeks. There is a lot of stress happening in my life. Pretty normal stress stuff.
Too much work.
Never enough time.
The list goes on. But that list is ever present in life. I had gotten to the point where I let so many of these things get away from me that I forgot how to do them in a way that worked. Last year was just as trying. I did a freakin’ great job last year. I am so proud of 2015…to a point. You are probably wondering how this rambling fits into my Landrun race report. My mental health is just as important as my physical health. The frostbite from Tuscobia was really tough. This would put my mental health at a pretty low point. I made Landrun my carrot. I was waiting for this race. I knew it would be a wake up call. A slap in the face. I was afraid to get back on my bike. Not because my toes hurt. They are going to hurt for a long time. That was a great excuse though. The real reason was my lack of training. Sure fast is not everything, but for me, fast is fun. Being healthy is happy. Being strong is a big part of that.
- I am packing and repacking still.
- I am more mentally prepared than I have ever been and physically in one piece (kudos to my new coach Lelan Dains.)
- The moon is going to be beautiful Saturday night.
- I am very confident in my gear selection (have you seen the Salsa Warbird?)
- The weather is going to be perfect.
- TransIowa is really just a gathering of the best people in the WORLD and the biggest hills of Iowa gravel.
- I am still scared, 5 years into this, so scared. (those good butterflies though.)
- I want that pain.
- BRING IT ON!
In an effort to keep my mind on track I am going to start archiving more things on my blog. They will all be kept under the same title, which I am still working on. I mentioned a exciting announcement and that will be at the end of my list. I am a list maker. That is how most of my non-race reports are going to be recorded. I want this platform to replace a lot of the words I put on Facebook. It makes things seem more concrete to me, and really it’s for me to look back at. Just a better way of keeping myself in line.
Finally. I had made it to the longest version of Tuscobia. I have been slowly introducing myself to winter ultras, starting with the Tuscobia 35 in 2014, the 75 in 2015, and now the 150 in 2016. I had also been doing Triple D since 2014. I am really happy with the path I have taken to get to the 150. Slow and steady. I have slowly been acquiring gear over those years, testing and learning along the way. To say I am happy with my gear, bike, and preparation would be an understatement. I have an incredible support system behind me who are willing to answer millions of questions and share wisdom. But anyways, back to the race!
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.
Some nights ago I was sitting across from one of my favorite people of all time. Fresh from the pool she was wearing giant Sears cover-alls, a cropped Culinary Ride shirt of yesteryear, gold hoop earrings, and one giant smirk. She is the person who introduced me to gravel and TransIowa. She taught me to love food and life. This is Audrey. She is the mastermind behind the Culinary Ride. Now in it’s fifth year the ride has been joining food, farms, and people. or as she says it best, “Where everything good comes from.”
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!
Just a quick life update! World of Bikes is my main stay job right now, but I also added in a couple weekends this spring teaching a bike touring class through the University of Iowa. This is a great opportunity to test myself and really reach out beyond my typical scope of people. I taught two weekends and it was one of my favorite experiences I have had on a bicycle. Bike camping and touring is where I really found my passion for long distance cycling. Sharing this love with impressionable college-aged students was amazing.
The first weekend in May I was lucky enough to lead the overnight bike camping class. I wrote a little blurb for the World of Bikes blog HERE! Read all about what the students and I learned while riding together and camping for a couple days.
I am so stoked about everything happening in Iowa City. We hired two new women at World of Bikes so we can better serve the ladies in our community. Just last night we taught 8 women how to change flat tires! Empowering women is one of my favorite things to do.
I was also chosen as the most inspiration lady at TransIowa so keep an eye out for some more words of wisdom ladies! If you have any thing you want touched on or questions answered email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do my best!
Dirty Kanza training is going well and I am excited to see how I do for my third go at this thing! If you haven’t heard the interview I did with Danielle about DK check it out HERE! All I can do from here on is keep riding and hoping for amazing weather!