Thursday, August 28, 2014

Embracing the Rain

Dark clouds were already looming by 10am this morning. The forecast called for a 35% chance of thundershowers starting at 11 and I had a three hour endurance ride in the hills on tap. I smartly packed a rain jacket and long fingered gloves and headed out from Gun-barrel toward 63rd. I had one climb in mind: Left Hand Canyon. Never mind that it was shrouded in dark clouds and that from a distance looked like it was being dumped on. I had work to do.

I started counting the dirt patches from the wash out last September. Boulder is still recovering from the 100-year flood that devastated parts of the county. My plan was to climb up to the sharp right hand turn for Ward and then turn around. It started sprinkling at mile marker eight and I had twenty more minutes to go. The sprinkles turned into dime size drops and increased in frequency. I hadn't seen another cyclist for at least a half hour. That's the thing with Colorado. If it's raining, no one goes outside.

I looked down at my Garmin and figured this was as good of a place as any to turn around. I put my rain jacket on and zoomed downhill. Then it started raining harder and I started smiling.

I miss riding in the rain. It's an old friend I know well and one that I realized I hadn't seen in awhile.

It started raining harder and a bigger smile spread across my face.

Is that all you got?

I took off my sunglasses in hopes that i could see the upcoming pot holes in the dirt sections I hit at 35 mph. Squinting, I thread the needle through washboard sections and bunny hopped pinch flat craters. The rain lightened and I turned up Lee Hill and started climbing again.

The vistas from the houses on Lee are breathtaking - shouldered in misty grays highlighted by green trees and stunning canyons. I smiled again - thankful to be here, now.  Thankful for a healthy body, a thinking mind and all of the wonderful people in my life. And then it started pouring.

Sometimes you need a little rain to wash you off and renew your spirits.



Monday, July 28, 2014

So This One Time, At Band Camp....

I drove down to the Forest Grove Talent ID camp this morning, put my cycling clothes on and rode with the group to a church parking lot to help coach 34 kids some skills drills. As we're standing there and moments before I'm about to get introduced to everyone - a bird the size of a pterodactyl takes a dump  on me. The white stuff is all over my arm - about the size of a sponge. I promptly try wiping it off with some nearby leaves and it takes 4 wipes to get it off. I'm standing back in the group when a tall coach next to me leans in and whispers, "Um, there's a bunch in your pony tail." I reach back and grab a HUGE clump of the dark part of the bird poo. And continue reaching back 3 more times to wipe the poo out of my hair. Then Jim introduces me and I wave to the kids with bird poo all over my hands.

Classic.

I'm going to take that as a massive sign of good luck.  Some call it a bird shit blessing.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer Happenings

Wow - over a month since my last post. That's got to be a record. To say I've been busy would be  obvious - who isn't? Warm temps, sunny sky, lots of outdoor adventures to be had. And as the world keeps spinning madly on, I'm frequently reminded that each day is an opportunity to live it to the fullest.

My mantra is building steam - surround yourself with passionate, authentic, real people who love to live and live to love. Life is too short to not be chasing your dreams and laughing and sharing that experience with those you love. It's why we are here, isn't it? I like to think so.

And now - some photos that capture what's been happening this summer....
Moonli the amazing office helper.

Haystack Mountain. As in Haystack Goat Cheese from Longmont, CO. YUM! This is about 3 miles from my house. Notice the wide shoulders and open fields? Boulder County is full of them. AMAZING.

Benjamin reading a Monarch Crest map and deciphering the code. Sitting at about 11,400 feet.

Buddies chilling out during the Monarch Crest Epic ride.

Such a great day with friends! Andy, Mike, Therese, Benjamin, Yours Truly, and Becky. Thanks to Mark for taking the photo!

Coached at the USA Cycling Women's Talent ID. Watch out world - these ladies are coming for you!


Coryn and I head banging for Ivy. There's more to the story - all you have to do is ask.


Dead Prairie Dog. Part of living is dying. Make sure you live your life to the fullest!

Summer camps kicked off with the USA Cycling Boulder Mountain Bike Talent ID. These 14-22 year old rode circles around me! This was the only opportunity I had to get them in one shot standing still on top of Flagstaff Mountain.

Next up: Seattle for the Marymoor Gran Prix, Master Track Nationals and Wedding Planning!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Letting go.

The sound of a collision brought my attention upward as I was pedaling my bike on the infield at the velodrome. Two riders went down. One slide down with his bike. The other hit headfirst and his body went limp as he tumbled down the track like a rag doll, stopping between corners three and four. I stopped my bike immediately and jumped the waist high infield railing hurrying to see if there was anything I could do. His body twitched as the last signs of life pulsed through his body. His face turned blue and a medic was on the scene immediately, trying to get some sort of response out of him.

His teenage daughter who had been racing with him in a field of 30 competitors was still on her bike, circled by where he lay limp, and started screaming. She slowly rolled by, nearly crashing as she looked at her lifeless dad.

Minutes passed. I tended to the other injured rider. I still had hope. We all had hoped. Come on Vic, move! We want you here. Your family needs you. We all need you. Please don’t go.

The medics had tried resuscitating him for nearly an hour. They huddled around him, taking turns doing chest compressions and using the defibrillator. A local emergency team showed up with fire trucks, ambulances, and police cars – all trained professionals well versed in what to do when something goes wrong.

But he was gone.

In the next hour I went numb. The race had stopped immediately and everyone went to the infield. Everyone sat there, speaking in hushed tones not knowing what should happen next as the medics continued to try and bring him back to life.

My mind reasoned that this was different then when Ryan died, yet it wasn’t. When someone finally told his daughter that he was gone, her primal sobs brought back the longing and despair that I felt when I first heard the news in the police precinct.

“No, no, no, no!” She cried as she rocked back and forth in the middle of the infield in her mother’s arms.

The ground gave way beneath her and I wanted to hold her up, wanted to rock back and forth with her as her new reality settled in. I wanted to tell her uncomprehending mind that time will heal. That it will get easier. That grief is a gift.

Instead I stood there in silence acutely aware I witnessed another tragic death. Except Vic was only an acquaintance to me. I didn’t know him well other than earlier in the night we had raced along side one another. What impacted me more was hearing his daughter scream and knowing what she felt. That she has a long road in front of her.

I bargained that at least his daughter and wife were there in his final moments, but that doesn’t make it easier. If I had been there when Ryan died, would I have done anything differently? Part of living is dying. We all have a choice on how to let that ultimate reality dictate what we do with the remaining hours, days, months, and years we have left.

An hour later I packed up my things and headed to my car. I was one of the first to leave but had the furthest to drive. I sat in silence for the majority of the two-hour drive home. I took stock of my life: Am I doing exactly what I want to be doing? Yes. Am I settling in any way? No. If I were to die today, was today a good day? Absolutely. Is there anything I would do differently? Get this damn book out there. Do those I love know it? Yes.


Her sobs echoed in my head that night, a reminder that she’s the type of person I want to help. That despite how hard life can be, it is worth living and that an incredible amount of growth and strength blossoms out of grief. The beauty of loving someone is being able to let go and know they’ll be in your heart forever.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Living in the Boulder Bubble.

Oh man, oh man! Not a lot of blogging going on lately. Not a lot of writing, either! Sheesh!

But we moved to Boulder and closed on two houses within a week. Been racing a bunch, packing and unpacking boxes, getting plugged into a new community, working some USAC talent ID camps and enjoying summer living.

The riding here is amazing. Five minutes from the new pad takes you onto wide shouldered country roads, meandering through the rolling hills that are green from the afternoon thundershowers that come marching in like clockwork. The grocery store rivals Seattle's (FINALLY!) and there's a Trader Joe's in town.

"The only thing that would make this place even better was if there was a blueberry farm," I mentioned to Benjamin on our first ride as residents and taking in the scenery that reminds me of the Northwest.

The next day while riding to a crit (HECK YES! No more 2+ hour drives to the bubble to race!) I noticed a U-Pick blueberry farm less than 5k from the house! BOOM!!!

Yep, paradise. Now I know why no one travels outside of the bubble - you don't need to!

Monday, May 05, 2014

A drop in the bucket.

I can't believe it's here. I'm nearing the end of my book. I just wrote the final chapter with the biggest takeaway message I could muster: urging people to live their lives without settling, by following your dreams and not conforming to the status quo. To risk to love. To leap. To play.

What a process and journey it's been to write my memoir. I hope you all enjoy it. I hope you take the messages I've intertwined throughout my story and apply it to your life. I hope in doing so it brings you happiness, acceptance and peace.

Wow, what a ride. It's been three years in the making. More if you count the back story. And I wouldn't speed it up or slow it down for anything. What a gift.

What's on your bucket list? DO IT.


Thursday, May 01, 2014

Acceptance

Acceptance.

It's something I always strive for. A place in my heart, mind and soul that feels calm, peaceful and is full of gratitude.

Acceptance.

It can apply to things big and small, hardships and good times.

Acceptance.

When do you know you've reached it? I think it's when you can look back and go Holy Shit! What a ride. 

Acceptance.

When you can say, I wouldn't change that experience for anything. The experience becomes a part of who you are: wiser, tougher, smarter, stronger, happier for it. 

I'm writing one of my last chapters on acceptance of Ryan's death. There wasn't a specific day I woke up knowing I would be okay, it was a culmination of multiple events. Thank you to all of my friends, family, dogs and events that helped me create a little more acceptance every day. I am so grateful for each of you. Thank you.



Next up: CELEBRATION!!!!