|Going off a super scary drop in the race because adrenaline|
|Watching dudes in Albstadt.|
I also learned not to underestimate the power of visualization. When I went to bed Friday night and closed my eyes in my mind's eye I went over what I needed to do with my body to make certain A-lines (over and over) and then the next day I honestly think it made all the difference when I attempted and rode the difficult stuff.
|Even this wall ride got easier and easier with every subsequent lap!|
|Gnawing on Salami because Germany|
And lastly, I learned (or more like, was reminded) that talking about things that are stressing you out is better than keeping it inside. It was a bit difficult feeling like Brendan and his brother were on vacation but I was there for work, and figuring out how much I felt comfortable exploring Europe vs resting. But after I finally talked with them about some of my issues I just felt so much better, even though nothing really changed. I really struggled at points, but they were both super understanding and didn't make me feel bad about times when I prioritized rest and recovery over exploring and fun.
And the BIGGEST takeaway is that I LOVE racing bikes. I don't just love racing when I'm doing well, but also when I'm battling fro 33 place! In both races I genuinely had more fun than I've ever had racing before and because of that I know I want to be a World Cup Mountain Bike Racer when I grow up. Still feeling overwhelmingly grateful for the opportunity to race in Europe last month!
|Not sure what this picture has to do with anything, but that kitchen in France allowed me to make this amazing sweet potato for after the race :)|
I may have experienced all these new crazy things, and think I will do stuff differently based on what I perceived I did 'wrong' or just not well, but sometimes it takes repeating these mistakes several times, or just doing things a little better than last time over and over again before you feel like you've mastered something. So here's to hoping I can apply what I learned in the Czech Republic, and that I will continue to learn and grow as an athlete this season and through my whole career. I had a major moment of realization on the course in Le Bresse that maybe one of the most gratifying aspects of the sport for me is that there will always be new skills to master and room to improve, and I am looking so forward to doing just that!