“The road flows like a river…. and it pulls me around every bend.”
That’s a line from Ani Difranco: Shy. I swear Ani got me through my late teens and early twenties with her “I do what I want” attitude. Her music played a big role in my recovery (from my eating disoder) and finding the strength to get on my own two feet.
That’s how I felt as I took two wheels to the road again. Granted… it was my mountain bike and I didn’t ride much road, I rode the old rail bed that goes on forever. But it was two wheels and it was outside. If you have been around here for the past few years you know that I … like many…. have been through some loss. That loss has involved friends on bikes.
In 2012 Heather was killed on a Sunday morning,by two drunk drivers.
A month later in 2012 Gary was killed during a race, on his bike. It was a race I typically announce but was not there due to Luc being sick.
In 2013 Mike was killed during a race as he rode into a parked car that should never have been on the race course. I was announcing.
All were parents to young children. All were the kind of people you admired, wanted to be like. All were spouses, children, brothers and sisters.
Their loss forced me off the road for the past few years except for races. I solely ride my trainer and thanks to the invention of the Wahoo, Trainer Road and Zwift…. I have done just fine. I have known for a long time though…. that I need to get back out there. I don’t need to ride outside every day. Once a week on the roads is fine. I am allowing fear to dictate what I will and won’t do. I have turned down opportunity after opportunity to ride with friends in amazing places.
If you know me .. you know that I am a strong cyclist, you know I have spent hours and miles riding through beautiful countryside with friends. One of my favorite things to do in Lake Placid is ride through the mountains.
I know that Heather, Gary and Mike would be very disappointed in me if they knew that I was afraid because of what happened to them. I also knew this would take time, and it was okay to take that time.
So last week I grabbed the mountain bike and headed out.
Just like THAT, it all came back.
My passion for this sport. My LOVE for the training and the process. My desire to want to get out there again. All of my wandering during the past year made sense. My desire to other things hasn’t wavered, don’t get me wrong. All who wander are not lost. All my wandering brought me back to the sport I love. I have not raced since last August. Last season was mostly aqua bike due to my surgery. I still plan on this step back from triathlon as a competitor this season.
Except for one race.
On Mother’s Day, Luc and I were out running. He’s grown up in this sport, he’s watched me build two successful coaching businesses. He’s seen me win, he’s seen me DNF. If anyone (besides Curt) understands our life and how it intertwines with swim bike and run… it’s Luc.
I had received a letter from USA Triathlon a few months ago, with an invitation to 2016 USAT Nationals. Because I earned an All American status for Aquabike last year, it automatically qualified me for Nats. We are headed to Omaha anyways… Curt is racing. Luc asked me if I was racing.
I told him no…. I am stepping back this season. He became upset. He told me that if you have the chance to go to nationals then I should take it. No matter what. He knows it’s what I have always wanted to do. It’s the one thing in this sport I have never done.
I told him I would think on it.
Last Sunday during our long run he brought it up again. He said “Mom, you are a coach, a nurse, a teacher…. you help everyone. What about you?”. After joking that I was a martyr…. I realized he was right. He wanted to know why I helped everyone else achieve their dreams but I was going to give up on my own.
It’s kind of crazy when your kids have insight like this. Yesterday weren’t we just discussing the lessons of Lightening McQueen? Then again….. I suppose he WAS listening when we were. As he is growing up we are realizing that Luc has some pretty amazing gifts. His insight and his depth of character are absolutely beyond his age.
I conceded. I had nothing to respond with. He was right. 100% spot on. So we made an agreement. A pinky promise, and he reminded me that pinky promises can’t be broken.I am going to take my spot at Nationals. I am going to
panic train for the next 12 weeks and I am going to be in some shape or form…. ready for Nationals. I am not going to give up this opportunity, I am not going to allow another goal to fall away because everyone else must come before me. Win lose or draw I am not going to put Nationals off for one more year.
Today summer break began. Last week I began officially training. I am in good shape but nowhere near race shape. Who knows where I will be in August? Not injured and hopefully somewhat ready. regardless it’s the platform I am launching off of. I have always wanted to spend a few years focusing on short course and Nationals. I have talked and talked and talked about it. Luc has shown me however that there is no time better than RIGHT now to get this game on.
As I rode my mountain bike along that rail bed…. it came back. The love. The feeling. The reason why I began this whole thing in the first place. It’s going to take me some more time to get comfortable on the roads again. I will always do most of my miles on the trainer. But I owe it to the friends I have lost… to live. This is what they would want me to do. They’d want me to “take it back”.
Luc has mapped out my track workouts, and gotten himself a stop watch. I was actually searching for a possible coach a few weeks ago, and then realized….. everything I need… I have.
Time to get to work. The road to Omaha…. has begun!