January 9, 2015

Finding Myself

At first I had a bike, and I rode that bike a couple of times a week. It got me out of the house. It gave my lazy legs some much needed exercise. I celebrated my first 20-mile ride and would shake my head at people who rode 40, 50 or 100 miles at a time. It seemed like mileage I'd never be comfortable, or enjoy, riding.

And then something changed.

I've become that person. The one who now has a closet full of spandex, who doesn't think twice about chain grease on my hands, who reads cycling blogs/books/magazines, and looks at winding roads through beautiful scenery dreaming about putting my tires to the pavement. I ride 40, 50 or 100 mile rides and even plan vacations around cycling events. Instead of collecting coffee mugs from destinations I look for bike shops and buy souvenir tee-shirts.

I've become a cyclist. And I love it.

My goal for 2014 was 1500 miles and a century (100-mile) ride. It would be a goal that pushed me physically and mentally; forcing me to get out in ride in the rain and wind, when temps were colder, after the sun set, and when I didn't necessarily feel like riding. When the weather was too bad to ride outside, I'd need to ride inside on the trainer.

As the miles rolled by, I found myself needing time on my bike. On particularly challenging days I'd head out and hope the black cloud looming over my head would be left somewhere along my route. Most of the time I came home more centered and calm. Some days I needed some not-so-gentle encouragement from my awesome support system to get out. And on those days I usually came back with my head in a better place. My bike became the place where I could be alone with my thoughts, hammering through whatever was swirling around inside my skull.

And as the miles rolled by, those goals suddenly loomed in front of me, easily within my grasp. My friend and I rode the 50-mile Spinderella ride in June; I completed the 100-mile heART of Idaho century ride, I blew past my 1500 mile goal in early September, and I rode the Moab Century on a much needed adult get away with my husband. I was amazed at what I was able to accomplish; grateful for everything that allows me to push my body so hard.

2014 finished at just over 2000 miles total, including two century rides, and many rides full of laughter (and some curse words) with friends. It was an awesome season and as ice covers the roads in Idaho now, I dream of clear pavement and miles ahead of me in 2015.

Cold weather gear

Two lane roads flanked by fields

Spinderella -- June 2014

heArt of Idaho -- August 2014

Moab Century -- September 2014

Mountain biking in Moab