2017 Road Season

So many feels.

Nine months. I feel like I’ve gone through a gamut of emotions this year, sorta like my own version of a pregnancy {although I’ll never experience this, nor do I intend to compare my challenges to that of mothers.} January feels oh so far away. The excitement and anticipation of a full season, a coach, team, and opportunity seems like it was given to me forever ago. I’ve reflected a bunch this season, and feel forever grateful for all who have taken me in and called me one of their own. Velosmith, Burnham, Chicago Women’s Elite.

Racing bikes is hard. Racing at the next level takes a village. I cannot believe how many individuals helped me to the finish line at every race I’ve done this season. An incredible feeling of gratitude hit me as I curled up into a ball of heat and tears after my road season ended today in St. Louis.

I’ve been racing bikes since 2010, but I don’t think I’ve ever felt more like a bike racer than I did this year. I’ve had glimmers of a great season, and sprinklings of glory, but none of that comes close to the energy that went into this season and what has come from it. To be a part of something bigger than yourself has an amazing power and energy that inspires and gives another sense of purpose.

Why do I race bikes? I’ve often asked myself this. After hard training days, crashes, watching teammates get taken out by the sport I love: Why?

A sprinkling of reasons: I love my bike. The balance of two wheels, the freedom, the speed of life in a race, and the world you are transported into while competing is unlike anything else I’ve done. I’m humbled by the competitive nature of the badass women in the sport. I’m honored to race under the flags of some amazing teams. And I’m inspired by my teammates, the sacrifice, effort, and belief they put into me and US as a collective. We ARE stronger together. This midwestern village is pretty amazing.

In nine months, I’ve put more miles on the road {and trainer} than I ever have in any year {5500}. I’ve pinned a number and toed the line at more races than in most years combined. {37 times?! Insanity} I’ve tracked more power, HR and tss points than I care to discuss. And it’s not really any of those numbers that matter. It’s the women who’ve stood along side me through them all. It’s the supporters who’ve stood behind us.

Okay, this is a lot of build up for two words that sum up this season. Humbled. Thankful.

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Chicago Women’s Elite – I’m thankful for the opportunities you’ve given me to be my best. I’ve had a lot of chances to shine, and while I’ve missed a ton, I’ve also felt the glory of helping others, which is obviously something I’d never be able to experience on my own. I’m humbled by a peloton of badass women. Sometimes it’s only 20 seconds that separate the top from the bottom, but like these 9 months, those 20 seconds are filled with talent, earned fitness, skills, bravery, luck, fear, fearlessness, blood, tears, smiles, and tenacity.

So it’s farewell to pavement for now. But yet it’s not goodbye, it’s see you later.

{All photos by SnowyMountain Photography}

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