We continue our series of lessons learned on the bike in 2012. -Kid
Wow, I can’t believe that it’s almost the end of the year. How did that happen? It seems like it was just yesterday that I was lining up on my Mukluk for my first race of 2012, the Farmer’s Fat Bike Race. But in reality that was almost a year ago. I guess the saying “time flies when you are having fun” is true!
When I look back over the last year I am filled with really great memories. Even though this was my best season result-wise, my favorite memories aren’t all tied to my wins. Some of my best memories this year come from “just riding along.” I think this was the year where I finally was able to find balance between training, racing and everything in between. As much as I love racing, I equally love riding my bike and sharing adventures with friends and family. Bikes are a huge part of my life and consistently give me the opportunity to go to new places, meet new people and experience new things.
One of my favorite memories comes from a gravel road race that took place this past October: The Lowell 50. My result wasn’t what made the race so great. In fact I took last in my age group. What made the race so great was that both my mom and dad did the race too.
I spent the day riding next to my mom and will never forget how awesome she was. I was so proud of how hard she pushed herself and loved watching her racing along the dirt roads on her Vaya.
The best part of the race was hearing my mom’s name announced over the loudspeaker as she neared the finish line. She and my dad spent the rest of the day talking about the race and it reminded me of one of my favorite things about cycling. My parent’s knew that they weren’t going to win the race or set any personal records when they lined up but that didn’t matter to them. They were just happy to be a part of it all.
Two other races that I loved doing this past year were Crank The Shield stage race in Canada and the Minnesota Rusty Ride. Both of these races were new events for me and I would love to go back and do both of them again.
Crank The Shield was my first stage race and I had no clue what I was in for. It was kind of exciting that I didn’t know what to expect and also scary at the same time. There were at least several times each day where I felt like I was in WAY over my head. Especially when I was careening out of control on steep downhills. I loved the challenge of pushing myself day after day while racing, and I also loved the camaderie that a stage race entails. Crank The Shield was like being at summer camp…only better. This camp was filled with bikes, beer and really good food! I definitely hope to do more stage races next year.
The Minnesota Rusty Ride was another race that I loved. It was my first time riding on the Cuyuna trails and they were AWESOME!!! I was having so much fun riding the trails that I got a little crazy out there and managed to crash directly on my face. My nose is still scarred today but I don’t mind. The scar is a constant reminder of how much fun I had racing that day. Not only were the trails amazing, but there was an aid station doing bacon hand-offs! It does not get better than that!
I had so many great experiences this past year that it’s really easy to gloss over the bad, but this year wasn’t all “ponies and butterflies.” I definitely had my fair share of disappointing days on a bike. One of the biggest disappointments for me this year was the cancellation of the 24-Hour World Championships in Canmore, Alberta. I had my heart set on competing in the World Championships the entire summer. Not only did I think about the race daily, but I also trained my butt off for it. I will be the first to admit that there were many tears shed when I found out that the race was cancelled. It was a blow both mentally and financially and I was very, very disappointed for a few days.
I was so determined to do a 24-hour race that I ended up racing the 24-Hour National Championships in Colorado Springs, Colorado. In a fairytale world I would have had a great race and my disappointment over Worlds being cancelled would have been erased. Instead the opposite happened. I became incredibly sick from the altitude and ended up having a horrible, horrible race. Talk about a double dosage of disappointment.
I used to dwell on bad races and get really mad at myself if I had one. However, I’ve realized that a bad race is just that…a bad race. And if a bad race is all I have to worry about then I’m incredibly lucky. I think the best thing to do after a bad race is to learn from it (if there’s anything to learn) and then let it go.
Because when all is said and done at the end of the day there is SO much more to biking than just racing. I was reminded of this shortly after my horrible 24-Hour Nationals race, when I was invited to ride with my #1 fan, Sage. We went riding at a local trail and I had a rare opportunity to view mountain biking through the eyes of a 6-year-old. Sage did not care if she had to get off her bike and walk up a hill and she was not concerned about getting a certain amount of hours in. At one point she stopped her bike so that we could sing about riding our bikes. It was a great afternoon and I hope that she will always think that biking is fun. I know that I do…
I know that I’m given a lot of great opportunities when it comes to racing and riding, and I definitely want to give back as much as possible. Thanks to Ada Bike Shop, I was able to help out with several community events this year. I think my favorite event this year was a helmet safety event. I helped run a safety course and we were able to give out almost 400 free helmets. It was so cool watching the little kids riding around on the course with their new helmets.
Talk about a fun day. Talk about a great year. I look forward to an even better 2013, with more racing, more riding, and lots more involvement in the community.
Here’s to a Happy New Year!
Read previous Continuing Education 2012 posts here!