Together, the mind and the body can unlock anything you set your mind to. Keeping those positive affirmations and a humble attitude evens out the ups and downs that life can throw in the mix. I enjoy the journey and the process of self discovery that cycling provides and don't take for granted my health or ability to move my body for one minute. Even on those days when things don't go according to plan - when you're unable to keep up with the lead pack or pull off that final interval because of an asthma attack. What keeps me going is the process of it all - enjoying the now and smiling at how happy I am in the moment, enjoying life. Bike racing is a wonderful way to pass the limited time we have on this planet and I couldn't imagine my life without two wheeled adventures.
This past weekend reaffirmed my love for bike racing. An unexpected surprise - especially with a 2nd place result in the first stage. Even in a stage that crushed my spirits last year but this year proved to be one of the top ten times I've had riding my bike. The more I think about it, the more those experiences have happened in the last year. And I would like to give Ms. Jennie Reed credit for that. And of course all of the people who support me in my endeavors - but Jennie's insight and coaching has been nothing less than spot on.
Going into a bigger stage race with no teammates was somewhat intimidating. But it also allowed me to sit in and play it smart and not have to expend any energy chasing anything down. The first lap was eventful - with lots of attacks off the front. But neither KR or Riverstone was going to let anything get up the road. We reached the hill - I conquered my demons and stuck with the bunch shooting off the front on the descent and getting a little separation from the field. Come to find out later from Christine that right when I rolled off the front someone in the front of the pack dropped their chain and caused a big panic in the pack. Lap two saw additional attacks and this time I was ready to participate (knowing that legs would be tired and the chances of getting into a move were higher than earlier in the race). The second time up the hill the pack was together and by the third lap, everyone was happy to just hang out and let it come down to a field sprint. I was salivating just thinking about it.
The final 3 k saw some sketchy riders, fatigued from the length of race, and handling that nearly caused a crash. But as the 1 k approached, the road opened and all of the sprinters surged to the front. I took the inside line, breaking a little of my momentum on the corner and watched Melissa jet rocket off the left side and sail into the finishing straight. Climbing up the hill - I punched it, passing the 5 riders in front of me, sitting on Jadine's wheel for a split second, then sling shot past her in for second across the line. I pushed so hard in that final sprint I was pretty cross eyed. And VERY elated. It's nice when something comes along completely unexpected and wonderful - and I was stoked.
(Photo from Pat Malach of Oregon Cycling Action.)
More report to come soon....