2014 in Retrospect.

The last 12 months have been quite a wild ride. I have learned much, as a racer and as a person. I lost an ovary. I lost my Grandmother. I won the Oregon Cross Crusade Series, the Oregon State XC Series and Cyclocross Championship. I placed 4th at Marathon Nationals and 16th at XC Nationals. I stood on the podium at Blitz to the Barrel. I raced against some the strongest, most supportive, fiercest women on two wheels. I learned what it feels like to go from Top Dog to Wiener Dog, what humble pie tastes like, and how to reset, restart and refocus, how not to get discouraged but instead learn from trying experiences and go back to the drawing board, more determined and motivated than ever before.

A few of my biggest lessons from 2014:

  • Do not base success solely on outcome, but understand, enjoy, and learn from the process. The results will come.
  • Find true self confidence; the courage to be open and to welcome change and challenge.
  • Embrace and honor a mindset focused on growth, constantly work toward improvement, consistently open myself to learning, and not set a ceiling on achievement.
  • To use racing as an engine for growth, instead of a vehicle for greatness.

At the end of each year I seem to get the off-season blues, a little low that comes from “tossing all that fitness out the window” and just chilling out.  Rest and recovery deserve respect, just like a challenging workout, and this year, I am embracing this. At a party last week an acquaintance of mine, who also happens to be a pro roadie, said something that really hit home, “Letting yourself get out of shape is what makes you faster, much faster. Not too many people understand that concept.”

This week I transition from completely unstructured free time to some unstructured free time and am excited to get back on my bike and pedal.  After close to three weeks removed from the saddle, the two-hour ride seems like a century. Oh, how quickly things change.

As I wrap up 2014 and look forward to 2015, I am certain it will bring great things. Fast legs, strong lungs and a heart of fire. Racing bikes does more than teach the legs to spin faster and the lungs to pump harder. It teaches the heart and the mind about the rest of life. About the things that happen after the workout is done, the finish line crossed, the season complete.  Without the support, love and dedication of my strong community, I would not understand this. As one wise friend told me over coffee on a beautiful Portland afternoon, “Bike racing lasts a decade, but relationships, they last forever.”

Big thanks to my #1, Ben, All Access Racing, Erik Eastland and Family, Coach Brig, LIV|Giant, Rolf Prima, CLIF Bar, REP Lab, Sunnyside Sports, Giro Sports, Smith Optics, Action Dynamix, and The Conservation Alliance.  Because it does take a village.