People are put in our lives for many reasons. We learn how to trust. We learn how to fight the good fight. We learn how to be broken. We learn how to love others…and ourselves. The good souls make us happy and the toxic ones break us. If our lives were full of good, how would we get stronger? If we never had to put the pieces back together, how would we learn? If everyone in this world contributed to our lives in a positive way, would we be any better for it? Maybe. But I wouldn’t be who I am right now. In this moment, I’m right where I need to be.
I was surrounded by pure love this weekend.
I spent the weekend in Blythewood, SC for my very first omnium. As you guys know, I’ve only been on the bike consistently since last May, and I am by no means a “roadie”. I used to have a heavy negativity towards criteriums, but as I got further into cyclocross season, I began to have a change of heart.
I was not myself on Friday. I had been anticipating the crit for weeks, and second guessed myself a million times. I woke up on Saturday to a skipping heart and upset stomach. I was a wreck.
I’d like to thank all my racer friends for the advice, calming words and motivation. I tend to get worked up when it comes to competitive sporting events. I used to throw up at the start line of track events as a teenager. That being said, I needed all the words of reason I could get.
The TT was cold, and the guy at the start couldn’t hold a bike to save his life. He had me so far to the left, I was about to slide off the seat. I stuck my arm out and tried to balance myself, but the guy wouldn’t budge. The official finally nudged up against me and told old guy behind me to do a better job of holding the bikes. I had no idea what I was doing. I rode as hard as I could, breaking too much in the turns and losing time in the climb. I didn’t have the slowest time, so mission accomplished.
I lined up later in the day with 17 other ladies for the criterium. My nerves were shot to hell. My logical brain told me to ride smart, but my heart just wanted to be fast and not off the back. I’m an extremely competitive person, even though I know my fitness isn’t up to par with chicks who have been doing this for years. Regardless, I wanted to leave every ounce of my soul on the course. I’m all heart. I don’t know how to be anything else.
I say this after a lot of ‘cross races, but…THAT WAS THE HARDEST THING I’VE EVER DONE. I never had a chance to rest. I was wide open the entire race. The lead group was SOOOOOOO FAST. I was ok until I got lapped, then my heart sunk a little bit. I spent a lap by myself until a few others caught up to me. At first, I thought they were lapping me, too. Once I locked on, I realized I was still racing these girls. I was dying. I decided to hang with the group until the end. I didn’t know if I’d be able to keep up if someone made a break, but I had to kill myself trying.
Finally, with 8 laps remaining, I started to feel ok. By ok, I mean shitty, but better than I did the first 15 minutes of the race. I just hung on for my life until I heard the lap bell. I had to go out pedaling or passed out! I hammered around the course as hard as I could and then realized a few of the girls were getting tired. I waited until we made the final corner, and went as hard as I could. I thought I might die. I managed to pass a couple in the sprint.
And like that, I was hooked.
The circuit race was a bit more difficult today. I learned a few things like:
I’m a really strong short hill climber.
I spend too much time pushing heavy gears.
Road racing is a game.
I can throw up while racing, and not skip a pedal stroke.
I didn’t break any records, but I wasn’t last. Again….mission accomplished. I never thought I would be this excited about road racing.
Now I’m going to take this Ibuprofen and go to bed. I’m exhausted. Smashing pedals is hard work, kid.