Borrowed parts and pieces from the garage to build my ride. Old, worn out shorts and jerseys were given to me until I could buy my own. Suffered through group rides only to find myself the last one on the road. Spent my first ‘cross season finishing in the bottom half of every field, walking away in tears every other race. I couldn’t see it. I didn’t understand. So I made myself a promise.
I spent days off riding wherever and whenever I could. No ride scared me. I was too stupid and too determined to turn down even the gnarliest of rides. I buried my head into pace lines and shelled myself whenever I could. “I’m gonna hang on until I pop”. I fell off the back…a lot. I became discouraged when I didn’t see results. I thought about giving up. I found a way to keep pedaling.
I followed my brother. I rode with the fast kids. I chased the boys. I followed Kyle on his miserable climbs. I didn’t say no. I always said yes, no matter how painful it was…no matter how slow I was…no matter how long it took me to get back home. I never backed down from a ride.
And finally I can see…
The ‘cross season got off to a mellow start, racing AVLCX Women’s A’s. I didn’t come in last, which was super rad, but I didn’t have a spectacular result. Obviously, I didn’t expect anything crazy, and it was nice to simply hang on. And that’s what I did…I hung on.
Last weekend was MSG’s series opener and I felt like I had a lot to prove. I wasn’t out to show myself to the world, but I did want to reap the benefits of hard work. I was worried I wouldn’t deliver. I was worried I wouldn’t be where I thought I should be. My heart rate on the start line was in the 90s. I was terrified.
But my legs knew what to do.
I placed 3rd overall and 1st in the women’s CX 4. I did it again on Sunday. Who was this person? Where did these legs come from? I was in shock…in denial. I didn’t know how to respond when people congratulated me. Did I really improve that much in a year?
I must have?! It happened again this weekend. I am humbled and excited and shocked and thankful and motivated and moved. Hard work. Sweat. Blood. A lot of tears. It’s starting to pay off and show me all the things I’ve wished for. I am so happy…so emotional…so dedicated to the cause.
I burst into tears at the finish yesterday…it was just too much to comprehend. The 87 degrees + lack of oxygen +lack of water + my energy exertion = SO MANY EMOTIONS. I lost it. And I was lucky enough to have someone at the finish waiting for me. Perfect end to a miserably perfect race. I love cyclocross because it breaks me down and builds me up, all at the same time.
Thank you Brian, for making me ride at 9pm, after working a 36 hour shift.
Thank you, Dwayne and MSG Cyclocross, for lighting the fire.
Thank you, Jamie, Tony, Autumn, Jordan and Jimmy for letting me tag along on rides and ‘cross trips (CXNATS BABY!).
Thank you, TCRC, and The Bike Shop for pushing me on group rides.
Thank you, AVLCX, for heckling me until I signed up for the Women’s A race.
Thank you, Kyle, for dragging me up 151, Town Mountain, and never letting me give up.
Thanks to all the AVL boys for letting me chase you. I still can’t catch you, but maybe soon?!
Thank you, Adam, for believing in me.
Thank you, haters, for giving me the fuel to pedal through the tough times.
Thank you, mom, for always loving me, no matter how well I performed. You are with me EVERY SINGLE RACE.
My ‘cross family, near and far, is so very special to me. There are simply no words to express my love, gratitude, and respect for each of you.
Don’t stop…and never give up.