After 20 years of riding and racing, I am still learning. Almost every time I hop on one of my bikes, I learn something about my preparation, gear, bike, clothing, food choices and strategy. It is definitely one of the reasons I continue to ride and it keeps me looking forward to the next adventure. I know that when I follow my instincts, listen to my body and let my mind relax, I perform better.
The MOST influential thing I have learned this year is this: I can enjoy riding alone for a really long time!
Previously, for most all of my multi-day rides and races I have ridden with JayP, either as a team or on the tandem. This year I completed the Stagecoach 400 (400 miles), the Tour Divide (2745 miles) and the Fitz-Barn (350 miles), all pretty much riding alone. Going into these races I wasn't sure I would like it. I thought I might get scared, lonely or have a mechanical I didn't know how to fix, but I was fine.
I enjoyed the freedom of just being responsible for me. It was so liberating to be able to throw down my bag, sleep, eat or take a break wherever, whenever I needed or wanted to. I know that this past year I have gained confidence and know that I can do it! I can ride alone, and I love it!
I have also discovered how strong my mind and body REALLY are. When I need strength, I know it will be there. As long as I keep my head together and push through hard times, I will make it through, because tough times don't last, tough people do!