Friday, August 18, 2017

Random Thoughts and Thanks

The view from the passenger window.... always beautiful. 

The drive back home from Colorado was rough. I looked in the rear view mirror a lot, wishing I could stay in the mountains, riding bikes, reading and sleeping in the van. But while my heart wants to live in the eternal summer of mountain biking I know in my head that working makes the free time so much more valuable. And to be honest, spending time in my classroom yesterday made me a little excited about the new school year. 

I left some loose ends and thoughts about Leadville unaddressed, so this is just a random collection of thoughts and thanks to the people I haven't acknowledged yet. 

It all seems like a blur now, but Jenny Smith mentioned in a comment on social media that I won 3 100 mile mountain bike races at extreme elevation in 4 weeks. And then when I thought about it, I raced 7 weekends in 8 weeks, all of which were endurance races, and all but Lutsen were at elevation (although big Bear and Tahoe were only 7,000ft max). AND the first race in the string of races, Lutsen, was my first ever 100 mile mountain bike race. What a wacky and cool way to spend the summer. 

Three 100 mile race podiums in 4 weeks... kinda nutty!

I am on a rest week now, which sucked for the first day but has been getting easier and easier as time goes by. Today, day 4 of not riding my bike, I actually am happy to not ride a bike... it's a scary feeling. I am very much looking forward to the weekends rides though! 

Van kitchen w/ podium flowers :)
You would think that living in a van would be cramped and lonely and hard, but I 100% am in love with the van life. I wouldn't have come home except that Dave dog was home alone as Brendan was in Asia all week. We used to joke about living in our van full time, but I'm at a point where I think I could seriously do it. We just need an internet connection, and a sink and I will be happy as a clam. I spent A LOT of time just chilling in the van alone, reading, getting healthy when I was sick, cooking... with the great outdoors just outside and a warm bed inside I can't really think of a reason to own a whole house besides the dog. I didn't really miss my worldly possessions, and it's kinda nice feeling like a shower is a luxury. When the small things become big things I think it's WAY easier to feel gratitude. 

My Leadville camp spot was pretty amazing. I did a lot of yoga and stretching here in the sunshine. 

And now the thanks part. 

Obviously the whole Leadville journey would not have happened without Brendan, and as my biggest supporter, and the hardest working guy I know I owe all the credit to Brendo. Brendan has tolerated so many weekends of insane training, my going to bed at 8pm on a regular basis, he gave up having a wife and van all summer so I could acclimate, he worked tirelessly on the van to get it ready for my summer of traveling, he has built and rebuilt bikes for me, and he flew all the way to Colorado for 2 days before heading straight to Taiwan for work, just to stand around in a feed zone waiting for me to zoom by twice and grab a bottle. Brendan is my hero. I know it looks like I'm the one racing bikes, but really WE are racing, his role just doesn't get finish line photos. Thanks husband. You are the best.

Getting to connect more with my team director Nicola Cranmer this summer has had a huge positive impact on my racing and on the outcome of the summer. People always tell me she has done so much for women's cycling, but I got to experience that first hand this summer. From the strategizing, to fun rides in Aspen, to always helping me out with the social media/marketing part of the job, Nicola has been an invaluable part of team Connors. I feel so lucky that Ridebiker brought me to her two years ago and that I get to be part of her team. 

One of the funniest aspects of the summer to me is that I FINALLY got to spend some time with my real life neighbor Erin Machan who lives 1 mile from me in Silverado, but whom I have never spent time with until we went to Colorado. Erin has the most generous heart, the kind of person who would give you the shirt off her back, and her helpfulness and generosity this summer had a huge positive impact on my race. Erin lent me everything from course knowledge to air compressors, she selflessly spent an HOUR helping me understand the different climbs on the course the first day I was in town, and though I really had nothing to offer in return she just continued to give. And as if that wasn't great enough, Erin is contagiously happy, which made hanging out with her and her boyfriend JJ ridiculously fun. 

Can't remember if this picture is in the last post. 
I already included the details of riding with Robert and Brian in the race recap, but I am still thinking back to how lucky I am to have ridden with them for the first half of the race. The weekend before the race Nicola, Pam and I were talking about how important it is to be in a group across the pavement during the race, and it was like Brian and Robert were sent there by an angel to be my group, haha. Also the two SRAM dudes I rode with on the way back, if only I remembered their names to thank them for letting me latch on and not help out! 

I have some pretty amazing sponsors, but among the best of the best is Brady Kappius. I had some issues the week before and Brady dropped everything Monday morning to help me get them sorted. I was in a panic before Brady stepped in and offered to help, and as a result I was able to pre-ride on the Edict all week which was ideal since I wanted to race the edict. 

Roger Hernendez is another sponsor who goes above and beyond for me, even when I screw up and fail to let him know what I need. Roger got me new tires for the race, which I'm sure resulted in my ability to descend so fast due to the extra grip, and to not get flats. Roger has been there for me through thick and thin, like really been there, and while I love Kenda tires a lot, I think it's the support I get from Roger that really makes it the best sponsorship deal. Thanks Roger :) 

And of course I'm so grateful that Lauren tolerated me for the first two week and pushed me to race Telluride and Breck. Those races helped so much and I WOULD NOT have done them if L-dawg had't been there encouraging and shaming me into racing. 

1 comment:

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