Reboot

September was the last lil bit that was posted and there’s been a lot brewing since then. Oh, so much…. I closed out the inaugural season of CAMBA Jr’s with so many more kids and youth than I ever anticipated, and so many ideas for the upcoming season and beyond. I honed in my skills with a rad coach, became BICP level 2 certified, taught a bunch of clinics and lessons, and raced a few races. Oh…and I launched a business! Check it out!www.rideinspiredmtb.com. I did this while I worked a 40+ hour full time job, maintained 20 piano students, and continued to train. It’s been a whirlwind of a fall and start of winter and an emotional roller coaster to say the least. Self doubt, elation, fear, joy, anger, sadness, disappointment, happiness, excitement, exhaustion, emptiness, and yet fullness.

All this “stuff” has come with a cost… my weight. If you didn’t already know- I lost nearly 100lbs over 5 years ago and maintained a healthy weight since, until recently. I’ve been slowly gaining some weight since 2013, but I was ok with it. I felt comfortable for the most part. Well, my lack of self discipline, control, and vigorous exercise over the last year has cost me over 35lbs in the wrong direction and about 2-3 clothes sizes. I keep starting a better nutrition plan and exercise plan, but can’t seem to muster up the motivation to stick with it, and default back emotional eating and skimping on workouts. Do this a few for a few months and boom, hello borderline obesity. Ugh.  Sure I still ride my bike and lift, but not consistently or at a high intensity.  How do I plan to “fix” it? Right now, I’m not entirely sure, but what I do know is that I lost weight before, I can do it again one pound at a time.

I made a goal this year to set small monthly “goals” if you will. Things to focus on for one month at at time and then try to incorporate them into my daily life. Goals, like show more gratitude, accept where I am now and know that it’s not a fixed point, simplify as much as I can, de-clutter and organize, etc… I was pretty overwhelmed at the beginning of the year and failed my goal from the start; well, not really failed, just never actually started. So, it’s time to set goals and find inner peace, gratitude, and acceptance.  These goals will help me stress less, live more peacefully, and be a better version of me. This month, the goal- a 30 day plank challenge. I started on Feb 3, so it’s a little off, but who cares. Goal 2- accept where I am now, with body, my skills, everything. Accept and love!

I do not at all regret my choices this past year, I did so many great things and am stronger for it. I now know what it took and now I can find balance!

 

 

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Lil Bits

It’s been awhile… so here are some lil bits of what I’ve been up to…

I’ve been busy, but it honestly doesn’t really seem busy over here… lots of clinics, lessons, group rides, and personal growth. Lately though, I’ve been spending time thinking and reflecting about my own riding: how my brain processes things, why I ride things how I do, how I would explain something to at least a dozen other people, and more. It’s been a really fun process to take one skill and then try to think of EVERY possible way of explaining it, then trying to “demo” it in various ways to make it understandable. In the process- my riding has changed. I realized a lot of my fear with certain things was that I wasn’t sure I’d ride with enough intention and drive the bike. I sometimes feel like I’m a “lazy rider” when I’m out on my own riding. I can navigate things and ride successfully, but it’s not always riding with intention and that’s completely opposite of what I teach. So it’s time to practice what you preach…I’m now working to become more active and deliberate while riding.

I’ve been reminded a lot how much visualizing success plays such a BIG role and looking past the obstacle on the trail or even in life. If you focus your eyes and energy on a rock, root, or feature- it is harder or impossible to ride; but if you look at it, acknowledge it, and look beyond, success is more likely. The same thing applies to life, if you dwell on things, you get weighed down and can’t move forward.  I’ve been letting things go, changing my reaction to negative and stressful situations and visualizing the “ideal”. It’s not always successful, but it definitely helps to keep me grounded and shows me what is important and what is not. You can’t always control a situation, but you can control your response- just like on the bike.

This past summer I started a junior’s mountain bike program for my local MTB association (CAMBA). In the short time since we’ve been rolling, there are about 30 kids registered and more showing interest! I’m so excited to see the response and support for the youth. So, what’s next for the program? Developing skills, continued growth, a race series, sponsorship- the sky’s the limit! It’s been so rewarding to watch these riders improve and grow with the support of some wonderful committed volunteers! I’ve also expanded my coaching from teaching MTB lessons and clinics to include teaching young riders to ride without training wheels.

What has been missing lately is my own riding/”training” and racing. I had to make a sacrifice to build skills and develop a program and now I will find the balance. I will return to the racing scene later this season- I won’t be as fit, fast, or competitive- but I’ll be back pushing myself to get back to “race shape”.  Being at a bike race this past weekend reminded me just how much I miss the fun, the drive, the pain cave, and the adrenaline. What better way to jump back in, cyclocross.

So looking forward, I have lofty goals for the off season, but I know I can achieve them, because I am a fighter. Getting back into race shape, growing a program, growing my coaching, working on certifications, the list goes on- but setting goals and working towards them is what keeps me focused and drives me.

“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination”.~ Jimmy Dean

Progression

There are a lot of things you learn about yourself when you are put in different situations; everything we encounter teaches us something whether we want to learn it or not. Maybe we learn to love more unconditionally, to open our eyes and see from a different perspective, Perhaps we learn to trust our gut, stand up for ourselves, or that we are capable of more than we thought. It could even be trusting that we have the skills to shred down the gnar, are strong and can persevere.  I’ve been learning a lot about myself  recently; that I do have the ability and skills to shred, what I will tolerate and not tolerate, that I was raised to be a strong, independent woman, and oh, so much more.  All these “things” have led me to understanding my own needs, desires, and path.

What is my path? Well, I am a teacher by nature, it comes very naturally to me. I am a cheerleader for my students and I will do whatever I can in my power to see them succeed or to see them achieve a goal.  I am driven by adventure, by desire, by pure passion to see people achieve whatever they set out to do. I am a goal setter, a doer, a planner, a get shit done kind of person. For a while those were all things I felt like I was trying leave behind I felt like I was losing myself, losing my roots, my passion, and my identity. I was constantly beating myself up for not trying harder, being a better and more understanding, more empathetic person. I decided to focus on my goal, my desire, and passion.

It’s interesting to me that regardless of what I preach and teach to my students about positive thoughts, not being so hard on themselves, and be patient; I myself very quickly get caught up in the negative self talk. Why?, because I am very hard on myself. I set high goals, have even higher expectations, and try to balance my crazy schedule all while working towards those goals.  Everyday I try to step out of my comfort zone, better myself in some way, make a small progression, and keep moving forward.  I try to remind myself life is about the little progressions, each one of those little progression add up to mega progressions!  I may not always succeed with something, but I constantly try to better myself try to improve on something I’m not good at. I am trying to get comfortable with the uncomfortable and just be in the moment. I try to push myself out side of my comfort zone regularly. You never grow unless you take that step to the uncomfortable.

I am on the verge of something very exciting and kinda scary. It’s definitely going to require small progressions, minimizing the negative and beating myself up to achieve this goal. What is that goal? You’ll have to wait a bit longer to see what’s brewing. So goals? What are some of your goals or benchmarks to make this year? Are they big, small, close to meeting or still a ways off?

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A Weekend of Riding for Ray

“We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves, otherwise we harden.” -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

This past weekend, I spent 3 days riding, learning, building, and progressing not only my own riding skills, but also my coaching skills at Ray’s Indoor MTB Park (check out my previous post to read all about Rays). I had some mega progressions in a very short time and rode things that I’ve been working up the nerve to drop into. What made this weekend “The Weekend”? It was being surrounded by 200 participants from all over the US and Canada, having a group of amazing coaches, and finally letting go of some of the negative and moving on. I assisted some top notch coaches like Kat Sweet, Angi Weston, and Leigh Donovan, and got watch and absorb what they were doing- I’ve got some new ideas for my clinics! I was also able to watch other riders, but this time I watched with a more critical “coaches eye” tying to break down what I was seeing and how I would address it.

The highlight for me was definitely spending one on one time with an amazingly positive, encouraging, and just all around awesome coach – Angi Weston. If you don’t know her you’re missing out. Check her out here: www.radicalrootsmtb.com.  I had one of the best private lessons ever and then an afternoon and evening riding around and watching riders. During the lesson, I showed myself I actually could do a lot of skills that I told myself I couldn’t (bunny hops, actually jumping with proper form…). She encouraged me to drop into the expert jump line (Red Bull Line) that I looked at many times thinking I can’t do that line and then I did that line 3 times successfully and am now not fearful of it. I left the lesson and ride time with the more confidence in my riding than I lost over the last 9 months and that is an amazing feeling.

The entire weekend was such a rejuvenating experience for me. It gave me an idea of where I want to go and that it’s not nearly as far away as I thought. It showed me I can do a lot more than I give myself credit for and that when you are surrounded by positive energy you can blossom. Yeah, I am a firm believer in energy people emit and its power. This weekend was a positive energy explosion and got my lil wheels spinning . Big things are coming this year!

Turning a fear into a mission: Ray’s Indoor MTB Park

So, you’ve heard of Ray’s Indoor Mountain Bike Park, right? If not, it’s a warehouse that has been turned into an indoor skills park, cross country course, and BMX park. Basically, that place where the “kids” go ride, jump and do crazy tricks on their bike! Ok, that’s not entirely true. Sure, it’s a place where you can jump and hop around and do some crazy tricks on a bike, but there are also plenty of other places that you can ride, keep all the rubber fully in contact with the floor, and explore. Ray’s is a lot different than riding outside. You won’t find dirt trails, roots, and trees in the park. What you will find is a lot of wooden ramps, various “skinnies”- think 2 inches wide to as wide as a sidewalk or wider, some an inch off the ground and some a few feet from the ground, and yeah there are places to jump, some that are nice and small that you can roll over (keeping the rubber in contact at all times) and some you can catch some air. There really is something for every level rider!

You’re now probably saying, sure that’s coming from someone who rides there frequently, is a skills coach, and knows what they are doing. Let’s rewind a bit… In my first three-ish years of riding, I heard a lot of “go check out Ray’s”, “Let’s go up to Ray’s”, “c’mon and join me at Ray’s”. I would ALWAYS say no and come up with some random excuse as to why I couldn’t go. The reality… I WAS AFRAID and INTIMIDATED. There’d be a ton of people, I’d get hurt, I wouldn’t be able to ride anything. Yep, that’s right I was totally freaked out about riding there, so I never went.

Ok, now let’s fast forward to November 2016…I was a newly certified mountain bike skills instructor and was asked to help out with ladies nights at Rays. Initially I thought I’ll be the “behind the scenes person”- you know, figure out logistics, plan games…but not really actively teach there, because I was terrified to go. There was this tiny part of me that was curious, but most of me was all about the nope, nope, nope…danger, danger, danger. One day, I went up on sort of a whim and met up with someone who knew the park. We started VERY slow and I remember having a plethora of thoughts as I first rode off to check out the place: OMG I’m gonna end up broken; WTF is up with this SUPER low saddle; I feel really awkward; I’m in way over my head; Can everyone see how scared I am?; My whole body is shaking; I’m going to get run into….the list went on. I saw people fully airborne, flipping in to a foam pit. I was overwhelmed to say the least. We rode back to the beginner room so I could get some of my bearings and then looked at a few of the beginner/novice areas. The whole time I kept thinking: I can’t stand, balance on this bike, and ride like this – I can’t ride any of the stuff here. Eventually, we rode around so I could see (not ride) what all was there and my “tour” finished with a slow lap of the cross country loop- talk about once of the most terrifying experiences I’ve had on a bike! I actually had to stop at the end and regroup. My “tour guide” needed to get back to work, so I was left to my own devices…GULP. I spent quite a bit of time just getting comfy, standing and riding in the beginner rooms where everything was low consequence and I could just explore this new riding style. I finished my first time there with one more lap of the XC loop- because why not? I returned my rental and headed home – the entire time thinking that was really scary, but actually really kinda fun. Would it have been fun if i went up on my own, without someone who knew the park? NOPE! What about if I hadn’t learned a bit about the fundamentals skills for riding at Rays? (and then learned to teach those and more) NOPE.

So, yes, I was totally in those “I’m totally not coordinated enough”, “I’m too afraid”, “There’s nothing at Ray’s for me” shoes. When Ray Petro, the man himself, asked us to create an environment to show female riders they don’t have to be intimidated, where they can build friendships and confidence, the phenomenal event called Ladies Nights at Rays was brought to life! We are here to introduce you to this place alongside other women (who are SUPER supportive and encouraging btw) that love to help out new, and new to Ray’s riders. If you’re now saying “I’m only a road rider” or “I only ride the multipurpose trail and there’s nothing there for me,” I can assure you all disciplines of riding (road, hybrids, mountain bikes etc…) have skills that cross over. Mountain bike handling skills that I learned at Ray’s, have made me a more confident road rider (and have also helped me avoid a few crashes).

Still unsure about Ray’s? We have coached women (and girls) of all levels – ranging from some that have never ridden a mountain bike, some that haven’t ridden a bike in 10+ years, and even some experienced outdoor riders. We have helped take the fear out of Rays. We show you some basic skills for riding indoors and then show you some places that are less intimidating to ride. You are always accompanied by 1 or 2 coaches during your first visit, sometimes multiple visits (unless you tell us to get lost so you can shred) and typically other women who are there to learn! Each time you come back you begin to explore more and more of what Ray’s has to offer and then before you know it, you’re riding things that you looked at the first time you walked in and said OMG I’ll never do that!

Ray Petro, THANK YOU! You have created a place where every rider regardless of skill can come ride, build confidence and strength, make friendships, and have an outlet in the winter. Riding at the park you created has given me confidence to ride things I never dreamed I’d ride and to actually get both wheels off the ground!

Finding Peace and Happiness

Needless to say, this past year has felt like it’s been storm after storm with no sunshine anywhere out there. Frankly, I’m exhausted-mentally and emotionally, but thankfully not completely physically (girl has to get her workout in). It just seems like every time something starts to “feel” right the roof blows off; start to repair that and oh look here comes another storm to break down the walls. After a while, all you are left with is the ground to begin to rebuild from the foundation up. Right now, that’s where I feel like I am, standing with nothing, but the ground and a few left over bricks and boards. So, I’m drawing and designing and hoping this craptastic year doesn’t repeat. I’m sick of storms, I want some damn sunshine and rainbows.

Through each one of these “storms”, I was knocked down, emotionally, mentally, and physically, but I’d get back up somehow and continue on my journey; taking a lesson along each time. Reflecting back I see now that I grew each time I got back up, sometimes in more ways than one. I learned and am still learning lessons in love, loss, taking a chance, facing a fear, giving, loyalty, trust, maturity, gratitude, selflessness, and rejection. There’s probably more, but that’s what I’ve got for now.

With all of those “storms”, I am now desperate to find that place of peace and happiness, and to move forward one small step at a time.  Moving forward and growing means letting go of what has caused pain, turbulence, anger, grief, and distress, while allowing joy, peace, happiness, and serenity to enter. That’s where I am now, trying to let go of the things that are inhibiting growth, people that cause unnecessary turbulence, and learning to not let situations control me, but control how I respond to them. Writing has sorta of been my way about this because for me it’s freaking hard to find that outlet that is judgment free, trustworthy, and compassionate to bounce ideas off of, vent, send you a wake up call, make you feel like your ideas and thoughts are worthy without shutting you down. Writing and this blog is oddly enough one of the places where I feel secure and my ideas and thoughts can be heard by the universe (and anyone who reads it).

I am now at this weird place in my life where I feel very unfocused, insecure, and am questioning everything. Especially in the realm of fitness and cycling, but it spills over into my daily life. Yes, I like to ride, run, and lift, but why?  My time on the bike and when I run is my “me” time, where I think through things, have “arguments” with people and sometimes start a mental blog post. I’m also trying to do this “training” thing… but motivation is not where it used to be. It’s hard to focus on a workout when you are also sorting out thoughts.  I think this winter there is going to be a lot of cross training- still bikes, but also running more, and a consistent lifting schedule. The shocker… a lot less mountain biking. When something you love becomes something you dread having to do it’s time to take a step back and go what changed? Maybe next year mountain biking won’t be my “focus”, maybe it will be something I do with the Jr’s and youth teams and ride for fun occasionally. Fun, that’s what it was lacking towards the end of this season and that’s what I need back. FUN! So here’s to a winter of road bikes and cx bikes, running, and lifting. A winter where I hopefully “get it together”, come back in a better place that I left off, and get some new ink! My journey is just beginning.

“It’s a brand new, the sun is shining, it’s a brand new day, for the first time in such a long long time, I know, I’ll be ok”

30 questions 30 days

September has come and gone and my goal of writing an answer each day to one of the “My Intent Project” cards went pretty well.  I decided not to share all 30 of my answers, but I will share a selection of them (and all 30 of the questions-in bold).  If you really want to see the whole 30, I’ll share them individually.  It turned out to be a lot harder than I anticipated, well some of the questions. These really made me take a step back and reflect, think, and be aware.  I also decided to choose a word or phrase to attach to each question.  I highly encourage you to answer some or all of the questions. So here goes:

Day 1 (Fri) What is most important to you? 

The mark I leave on this world and on other people. I feel like I’m here for a short amount of time and with that time I feel like emitting peace, a non judgmental way of thinking, an open heart, color blindness, acceptance of all religion and people is my way to trying to be one person that saw no boundaries. My hope is that one day, we call all coexist and accept. The word I choose today is Harmony. 

Day 2 (Sat) How are you making a difference in this world?

I try to help people see the best in themselves and to constantly evolve. I am giving courage and strength to those who need it. I try to treat all people regardless of religion, race, financial status, etc…. all the same. The word I chose is Inspire.

Day 3 (Sun) What do you spend too much time doing?

I spend too much time worrying what other people think of me and what I do. I always feel like I’m trying to “fit in” and never do and I spend too much time dwelling on that. I worry too much about the future, where I will live, how I’ll live. I spend a lot of time hating myself, my body, who I’ve become. The word I choose today is Self Love

Day 4 (Mon) What is something new you recently tried and loved?

I don’t know if this is really “new”, but I have been trying to step out of my comfort zone more and push myself to become a better version of me. It’s not always easy or comfortable and often I get very anxious, but I keep trying to push myself. The word I choose is Evolve.

Day 5 (Tues) What does this world need more of?

The world needs more love, acceptance, understanding and kindness. My word is Coexist

Day 6 (Wed) What moves you to tears or gives you goosebumps?

I’m moved to tears by a lot… Seeing people show respect when given, people going out of their way to help others, watching soldiers reunite with family, animal rehabilitation. Listening to complex, beautiful choral music. Unprovoked acts of kindness, love, and compassion. My word today is Compassion

Day 7 (Thurs) What are you working towards that you could use help with?

I’m working on trying to get myself back into race shape and feel more fit/healthy. I struggle a lot with this because I over exercise to try to balance out food. It’s hard for me to accept that you don’t need to burn off everything you eat. I’m trying to find a healthy balance with this and need a lot of reminders, support, encouragement. The word is persevere.

Day 8 (Fri) What was your childhood dream?

I honestly had a lot of them. I was a dreamer. I wanted to be a successful dr at one point, then travel the world, be a famous actress…. I also wanted to be self sufficient, live in my own home…the usual stuff. The word is wander

Day 9 (Sat) What can you do that you could not do a year ago?
A year ago I struggled to ride in flat pedals, do a manual, and other riding skills. But- I feel like I sacrificed a lot of my fitness and strength in pursuit of better skills. The word is build.

Day 10 (Sun) What is a defining moment in your life and how did it impact you?

Day 11 (Mon) What are you passionate about and want to spend more time doing? 

I am passionate about finding peace and harmony in nature. I love being in the mountains and exploring new areas, but not for long periods of time at once. I’m a homebody and don’t like being away from home long. My word today is awaken 

Day 12 (Tues) What makes you feel loved?

Day 13 (Wed) If money was not an issue, how would you spend your time?

I would travel the world and see and do as much as I can. Today my word is adventure

Day 14 (Thurs) What do you dream of achieving one day?

Being able to live in the mountains away from snow, and be free from worrying about bills, money, health. I choose the word peace.

Day 15 (Fri) What did you learn from your biggest regret?
To live each day with an open heart, spend time with loved ones, and that we aren’t guaranteed another day so make the most of what you have now. I choose gratitude today

Day 16 (Sat) What is one of the kindest things someone has ever done for you?
This may or may not answer this exactly but one of the kindest things (a lot of them actually) is actually my dad-supporting me through whatever crazy thing I’m pursuing. He’s always there and events and was at concerts. He doesn’t have to go, but knowing that someone is there for me, supporting me, when they could be doing anything else is kindness. I choose the word faith today

Day 17 (Sun) What have you witnessed that has strengthened your faith in humanity?

Day 18 (Mon) What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
I actually would love to go sea kayaking, but am terrified of being in water over my head. Especially if I can’t see the ground and it’s not a controlled environment. 

Day 19 (Tues) What do you want to let go of?

Day 20 (Wed) If you could run your own country, what would it be like?
First thing would be making no religion or race better or more correct. They would all be equal. Racism would be a thing of the past. Everyone would have home, would have a job and be equal. No one would be entitled to something just because of their situation or background. It would be a world where would be treated equally with respect. 

Day 21 (Thurs) What makes you lose track of time?

This is easy… riding my bike alone in the woods.

Day 22 (Fri) How do you show love to others?

Day 23 (Sat) What challenge do you want to overcome?
I don’t know if this is really a challenge, but I’d like to get over my fear of success. It’s more powerful than my fear of failure. 

Day 24 (Sun) What question would you ask a fortune teller?

I would ask am I happy and at peace in my future? 

Day 25 (Mon) What is your perfect day?

Getting on my bike and riding from sunrise to sunset. 

Day 26 (Tues) Where have you found peace?

There are a few places along trails that I feel at peace, it’s usually when I’m alone just sitting or riding. Where I can just be.

Day 27 (Wed) Who are your heroes?
My grandparents- all four of them. 

Day 28 (Thurs) What risks are you happy you took? 

Day 29 (Fri) What random act of kindness could you perform right now?
Day 30 (Sat). What does success look like to you?
Success is being happy, being able to support yourself, being healthy, have a few close friends, be able to enjoy life, have a job, means of transportation, and be free.

Words…

A few weeks ago, I came across an advertisement on Instagram, you may have seen it, “my intent project”. Their philosophy is as follows: “Our mission is to be a catalyst for meaningful conversation and positive energy. We believe there is a purpose inside each of us and we want our efforts to encourage people to share more truth and inspiration with each other”.  This was right up my alley, as I love these “positivity” kind of things. So, I browsed a bit and opted for a necklace. With this project, you choose word to be on whatever item you select. I sat down and went through a bunch of different words trying to decide on what I wanted my word to be. I read other stories, reflected, and kept coming back to one word, more on this later. While browsing I also came across a deck of 30 card each with a meaningful question to help you choose a word or act as a conversation starter. I already knew what word I wanted, but decided to order the cards just to see what they were.  When they came I started to just read them, not really answer any, but just see what kinds of questions there were. I got to the end of the deck and decided to turn those cards into a month long project. Every day in September, I will answer 1 question. 30 days, 30 questions, 30 ways for me to see some positive and maybe make someone else “think”. While I won’t post each one in a blog post, I’ll put them in all in one post at the end of the month. These questions are designed to make you really think a bit about yourself, the world, life, etc… When you read the questions (and my answers) also connect with yourself, be non judgmental, and think about the question. (There are some really good ones) 

So what was my word? Balance. How did I come to that word? Well, my life recently has been so unbalanced and off kilter that I am spiraling in what feels like a self-destructive tornado of unfocused energy. How to I focus and stop spiraling? Balance. My diet has been totally off of my norm. Yes, I’m changing lifestyles, but still…  There needs to be balance there too. I need to create balance into my life. A balance of work, fun, teaching, coaching, relationships, friends, nutrition, riding, exercise…all that stuff needs to be balance. Just writing all that makes me a lil anxious, but I will find a balance. There were other words that came to mind…perseverance, believe, peace, harmony…. but I kept coming back to balance.  I’ve learned through riding my mtb that if I stay balanced, I will keep moving, but being unbalanced leads to a not so pleasant landing or a bumpy ride. So, my goal over the next few months/year is to create a better balance in my life to keep moving forward. Balance will begin with a firm foundation… My health and well being, then we add layers. Will it be easy, probably not… Will I want to give up and revert back to old habits, absolutely… Will I let myself quit and revert back, no. 

It seems leading up to finding this advertisement and questions, I spent a lot of time just sitting and thinking, about the future, about life, direction, health, riding…a lot of time spent thinking and planning. I’ve noticed I do a lot of this when I ride. Maybe the woods is where I think the best? I’m not sure why, but I do know I’m working toward finding a healthy lifestyle with joy, peace, sunshine, and balance.


The Bad, the Ugly, and the Good.

Sit back… this is a long one and it’s taken a lot of time to write….I’ve actually hesitated a lot with even posting it, but life has its up and downs and it’s not always about sunshine, rainbows, and flowers or whatever. What I have learned in my 32 years is that life goes on and you can sit back and feel sorry for yourself or you can take what you’ve been given, embrace it, learn from it, grow from it and keep on moving. So with that here goes nothing….

The Bad: It’s been a rough month (well actually a few) over here in bits land; from riding to my nutrition (I’ve shifted to whole foods/vegan) it’s all been meh.  It always seems like I have a huge moment or moments of growth and then get my feet knocked right out from under me and I’m sitting there with no explanation of what happened. I end up holding on with everything thing I can possibly muster up and then feel like I’m worse off than before that so-called moment of growth.  Yeah, that’s where I am now and it sucks.  My confidence is trashed, the joy I had riding is dwindling, and I can’t ever seem to do anything right. The odd thing is when you stick me in front of a group to teach a clinic or I teach a lesson, something clicks and BOOM, I’m back to the “normal” me and you’d never know the internal struggle that I’m dealing with.  I can coach people though and demo the very obstacle that when I’m out riding on my own I hesitate and biff on. It’s almost like my brain goes “ok, you have been trusted to safely guide someone though this trail, you know what you have to do and you know you have the skills to do it” and I do. Then there’s my solo riding; it’s now to the point I don’t even recognize myself or my riding. I walk things that I normally wouldn’t even second guess, I hesitate and bail on stuff that I normally dominate, I can’t get up a climb, or I freak out on a downhill. What gives?? Who is this person and where can I find that other one? I need directions stat.

The Ugly: It seems that lately I’ve been stuck in my head on every single ride and can’t for the life of me just “ride”.  Judging the line choice I’ve made, talking myself out of stuff, and calling myself a coward for using brakes. I judge myself for having a “race bike” and putting flats on it, (which btw has totally jacked up riding clipped in), for having my bike fit aggressively so it puts me too far forward, blah blah blah.  The list goes on and questions arise. Why; why do I do this to myself? Why do I let this stuff get into my head, move in, and then dictate my ride before it’s even begun? I’m setting myself up for failure and the ride hasn’t even begun. Yeah that’s a good way to start…. not. It seems like the entire time I’m getting ready to ride, my brain goes, wonder what you are going to mess up on today.  I’ve become so hard on myself and it’s frustrating and it’s led to me losing most of the confidence in myself and my riding. How and when did it start? I’ve been asking myself that a lot.

What and how does one “deal” with this kinda crap? It’s been rough to put it mildly. It’s been a process of riding up to something freezing, going back, trying aging, freezing again, and the cycle repeats, until I finally muster up the courage to just ride it and half the time so nervous I’m physically shaking.  It’s been reading old sports psychology books (which I haven’t done nearly enough of), reminding myself constantly that I do have skills and I can ride. It’s shutting out literally everything and everyone while I’m riding alone and sometime even in a group. So if I’ve come across “rude” or “cold” at the trail head or on the trail, I , been very caught up with creating myself again and preventing anything negative that may come my way.  From dissing my bike rack, to my pedals, or even my garmin- negativity from the outside is not needed, I’ve got enough on the inside thank you.

So, let’s add to all the above with the fact that I’ve spent three years racing A LOT and then all of a sudden, I don’t have time or energy to race.  Man, do I miss my consistent racing. I’ve done 2 actual races Mohican and Brady’s Run. I don’t count Barry Roubaix at this point, that was survival not racing. 2 races and it’s now August. Don’t get me wrong though I love teaching and instructing, but I also love and crave racing. I’m now so far behind “training” wise that any chance of a decent year is gone, but my plan is to suck it up and go out and race the rest of this season. Yeah, I’ll probably finish dead last, but I’ve got to rebuild myself and I get to do it in the expert class. Go me!  Then there’s cyclocross- yeah I do that too. I didn’t race much at all last year and I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I missed cx season. Cx and mtb racing is what drew me into cycling.  I like having to dig deep and push myself to see just how far I can go. Physically pushing myself hard, but mentally even harder.

The Good: Ok, so getting back to racing…that I can do.  Getting out of my head, I can do that too, although not nearly as easy as just showing up for a race. I have a feeling this is going to take time and patience on my part. Oh, yeah, I’m not very patient with myself, this will be a good experience in dealing with my own self and my stubbornness. Then there’s this whole thing about balance. Finding the balance between work, teaching, racing, riding, and a personal life…. this is where I struggle and where I need to work. I know next year it will be a necessity to find a better balance and I’m hell-bent on doing that because I refuse to get to where I am right now. That place where I’m ready to throw the bibs, jersey, baggies in the bin and call it quits, but I won’t, that’s not my style and I will push though this lull.

I am also in desperate need of time away, getting lost in the mountains, where I can refocus and just “be”. While I am very “scheduled/planned” there is a definite part of me that is drawn to heading out, no plan, no goal, no idea what the day has in store and just going. That is what I desire right now.  I need to have those moments of beautiful scenery, meltdowns on the trail out of sheer frustration, moments of amazing riding trying to get out of my head.  Things are shifting internally and externally, life is very unstable, challenging, and changing right now, but that’s ok. I’ve learned to hold on, dig deep, stand on my own two feet, be my own strength and never ever give up on myself.   For me, a life without anything to work on would be boring and meaningless, through struggle comes growth and I better be growing here. 

So, what does all this mean? It means that while I will still continue to teach, lead clinics, and progress my skills, I will try to not let that consume me and my riding. I will race the races I want and can race. I will try to ease up on myself and actually try to have fun riding. Constant negative people will be temporarily (or permanently) removed from by world. It also means that I will stand up for myself and fellow riders in the moment and not after the fact when being haggled. No, not everyone can ride a every trail without brakes, clear an entire rock garden every time, or clear a table top jump. It’s called staying within your limits, staying in control, and being safe on the trail. If that makes me an unskilled, coward of a rider, then so be it. However, that’s not how I see it.  I will embrace the mess that is right now, grow from it and learn from it. I will try to stop doubting my ability and live in the moment. 

Adrift and trying to find ground.

Everyone gets into dark and stormy places at least once, sometimes more than once in their lives. That place where you feel like nothing is going your way, you’re exhausted, everyone else seems more together, more successful, stronger, and just happier than you. Have you ever been there? I know I have. It seems like lately I’ve been riding this struggle bus more than normal. Maybe it’s because I’m just mentally exhausted from work or perhaps I’m being too critical of myself. It could be that I feel a bit adrift in my goals or maybe it’s my lack of racing which has been a big part of my life for the last few years. I haven’t been able to pinpoint it exactly and maybe it doesn’t even need to be because it’s a combination of everything right now.

I’ve been trying to work my way into the fitness world, but finding the time to actually study for exams and such has proven to be difficult between work, teaching, clinics, planning, and trying to ride myself. It will happen, but perhaps in the “off season” is a better goal.  Goals? I’ve got so many of them and lately they all seem to be so far out of reach. Sometimes, I wish that I would have taken a different route through college- one that would have given me more options, but at the same time, I think about all the wonderful opportunities I was given via the music route. European trips- Spain and Italy, the people, culture, the wonderful complexity of music. Do I miss it now, sometimes, but I’m in a different place in my life now, but I do every once in a while long for that choral practice or touring. I also wonder, if I would have taken a different route, what would it have been and would I still be “wandering” a bit to find my true place? Probably, because I feel like I need variety to keep me at peace. I don’t like feeling stuck or trapped into one thing, which is the reason I teach music and mtb skills, ride and race bikes, and work a job that doesn’t remotely relate to my degree. I have a creative, active, constantly moving kind of brain.  A brain that always has a play list of various styles of music-from opera to country constantly playing. One that while that play list is going is probably planning lessons for piano and riding. One that is making grocery lists and food planning, compiling to-do lists, trying to figure out how to better organize everything I do, or plotting my next bike route…constant flow of thoughts and music. (Sheesh, no wonder I’m exhausted)

Lately, I’ve been trying to overhaul my nutrition, my thoughts, my riding, my lifestyle, all in hopes of re-grounding myself, it’s been an attempt, but mediocre one at best. So, tomorrow (Monday) I try to buckle down and dive into a new nutrition journey. Today, I challenged myself to stay positive and stay out of my head and be in the moment. 

So in my attempt to re-ground and focus, I wonder what everyone else does when they’re adrift? How do you ground?


(Now how do you ride through that when your bike doesn’t even fit?)