There was a point where I was cruising down that descent, that I relaxed. My guard is never let down, I am always on yellow alert. But there is something about that section of road, where you are just flying (in control), with the river on your right, a mountain on your left and scenery in front of you that just makes you feel alive.
There is just something about tuning out all of the noise our lives create and tuning in. On two wheels. For six hours at a time. The friendly nod of a fellow cyclist. The smile to the fly fisherman doing their thing. The understood look of a weary hiker getting to their car after an equally long day on their trails.
It’s like this unsaid language between all of us.
That’s what has brought me back here.
My second weekend in Lake Placid in as many weeks brought what Lake Placid brings. Different adventures. I got to spend this past weekend at a camp put on by Maria Simone and her husband Jon of No Limits Endurance Coaching. In all of my years and the many camps I have attended, this was the best one. I got to spend time around people I would have never met otherwise, and I got to gain inspiration from the eyes of people who are first timers and those with immense experience.
It was just amazing. I am arriving home with miles, with smiles and with this feeling that in 6 weeks I will have the privilege of spending 140.6 miles with some absolutely amazing people.
I have loved loved loved this process. I am where I need to be. I am a long way from where I was a year ago. I am healthy. I am handling 7 hour training days incredibly well. My fitness feels deep and I feel durable and strong. I am handling the hard days and dark moments. I am careful about riding the highs. I have no idea what race day will bring, and right now I don’t even care.
I am too busy being right here right now.
A few weeks ago I ran the Buffalo Half Marathon as a pacing test after a long ride. Everything went spot on. I hit every target and felt real good doing it. The following weekend I was in Lake Placid riding in the rain and shifting wind, relearning the course and the intricacies that go along with it. This past weekend, as I said, the same.
There is just something about the smell of pines and the Adirondacks. The people. The feeling.
There is just something about feeling fit again and not worrying or caring about who you are now compared to who you were. But being who and where you are right now.
A big theme for me this year has been…. stay close to those who feel like sunshine. It’s been the best thing I have done. From who I train with, to my social media. I snoozed, unfollowed, or muted like crazy. Now on my feeds are the people I find to be inspirational. Most of them aren’t even athletes. Social media is part of our culture and who we are, and I found the golden ticket to make it work for me. Each time I look…. I am touched by stories of perseverance, hope, love and dream following. And no bike selfies.
Perseverance, hope, love, dream following….. that feels like sunshine. Through this process of healing and find my way back to me…. it’s what is mandatory for me.
I am headed back to Lake Placid again soon, just a few more times before race day. At no other time has my life aligned like it does right now for this to happen. It likely never will again, so I will smoke it while I’ve got it.