Climbing.  It’s not physically pleasing, nor is it easy on the brain.  Climbing can melt even the strongest human into a puddle of tears and misery.  Some of us got lucky, though, and have adapted to the pain and suffering that comes with climbing, and we find ourselves seeking it out just to feel alive.  It’s more additive than sugar.

I’ve been going on some crazy solo rides lately, and climbing until my eyes bleed.  70, 80, 90 mile rides, with insane elevation, which always crack my brain, but fill me with some of the most intense feelings of my lifetime.  I’m a junky, and pain is my heroin.  I love riding with other people, but there’s something incredibly freeing about riding solo.  You learn how to suffer alone, and that’s how you survive.  No one else is going to help you.

My coach and I decided to take a small step back from my training in order to focus on the one thing that gets in the way of EVERYTHING.  Life.  I decided it was time to spend some of my brain power trying to adjust to my new job, as well as take some of the stress off of my already overflowing plate.  I have a lot going on with working at the shop, planning the nationals after party, and spending time on my bike.  This doesn’t even include trying to start a women’s movement in the southern cycling community (more on that later).  My brain never stops, and the ideas burst out of my head like an atomic bomb.  I want to do everything.  I want to move mountains.  I want to be everything to everyone.  It’s a lot to juggle, but it helps to use up all this energy balled up inside me.

So, yeah.  That ‘step back’ from training resulted in a super strong base block of 10-14 hours a week, while logging 40 hours at work.  I crushed it, and it was fun.  The pressure to perform was taken away, and I rode for me and only me.  Sometimes you have to take down the walls and run free in order to reconnect with why you train in the first place.  I’m happy and excited for what’s to come.  I’m still uneasy about my leg, but time will tell.  Since I’m working full-time at the shop, my race days will be reduced this season, but maybe that will keep me in good form for nationals.  That’s the ultimate goal of this season anyway, so maybe the universe is aligning for greatness?

I’m still working on my place in the world, and getting ready to start my master’s program in 3 weeks.  The excitement of starting another degree has worn off, and now I find myself waking up in the middle of the night thinking, “WHAT THE FUCK HAVE I DONE?!”.  If you know me, you know I jump in head first, sometimes without hesitation.  It’s a bit cheeky, but I often use the term “YOLO” to explain why I do anything these days.  Life IS too damn short, and I refuse to stand around and let it slip away.  I want to do everything, remember?  So, school.  Shit.  Guess I’m gonna race collegiate this year, eh?

Speaking of anxiety, I am already feeling the pressure that will soon become the 2016 Cyclocross National Championships.  If racing isn’t enough, the after party will surely tax my adrenals and my brain, but ensuring the happiness of the cyclocross community is my #2 goal.  Racing comes first (duh), but I can promise Asheville will rock the party, even if it means I lose my fucking mind and have nothing left come February.  RECOVERY BLOCK, Y’ALL!

The Cycle-Smart Grassroots Team is getting fired up for ‘cross season, and this is another part of my life I’m very proud of.  I’m honored to manage such an amazing group of cyclists, and happy to be connected with the Cycle-Smart family.  It’s gonna be a great season, guys.  Thanks for letting me take the journey with you.

And then there’s mountain bike guide trips, and I’m climbing again, and I’m trying to get enough sleep, and learning how to take care of my bikes without help, and being a good dog mom, and still missing Boston, and always thinking about my past life in Mammoth Lakes, and wondering if I’ll ever date again, and realizing I’ll probably never date again, and thinking that my life is pretty ok solo, but thinking it would be nice to spend time with someone sometime, but realizing again that I can have solo dance parties, and solo soul-crushing-masochistic bike rides, and I don’t really need anyone else, but it would be nice. But I’m happy now, and that’s really the only thing that matters.

My therapist said, ‘We call that contentment. Welcome.”

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