I’m normally a pretty chill kind of person. I have worked on the road photographing horse shows for 25 years and learn to adapt to situations with high level pros. Not much phases me. Then, suddenly, in steps COVID-19!
We started out the year on Plan A; went to the Mid South, had a blast, and came home with heavy hearts. Things were still looking okay and I had no idea what an impact the next few months would have. Needless to say we blew through Plan B through K in about two weeks.
I am a social person when I choose to be, but I am also an introvert. I am very content to camp for weeks at a time in the woods with my family and without another soul around. I can curl up with a book and not talk to anyone all day for days, but I can also turn around and stand in a crowd having the same conversation over and over. I’ve learned in the last three months that I am more social than I ever imagined.
I have learned bike events are my inspiration. I will never podium or win any event, but they are my chance to take on an adventure, toe the line, and find out what my limit is that day. Honestly, the thrill of toeing the line will never get old to me. You can feel the excitement and buzz in the air…and this year, there is none of that. There is no high from hugging your friends or cheering them on…no smiles or tears of accomplishment.
I have struggled with the loss of that. I had the perfect season lined up; fun events everywhere and at least one great challenge a month. I had it all set! I struggled at first as we learned what our new days looked like. Times that I should have been logging hours upon hours on my bike all I wanted to do was be with my family and stay close to home. So not me!
It did not take long for my family to blow through all of our backup plans. We are adaptive, but dang! How many Dutch-oven breads can you bake? One day, we learned that it was okay to say it stunk. It was okay to be mad and okay to be sad. That was the turning point for us.
I found that riding with my computer was intrusive to me. I didn’t want the data anymore, nor did I really want to be coached at that time. I reached out to Jason and said “I need to just be me for a bit. No coaching, no data, and just time to find myself”. I found that I needed time to focus on what was now important in my life, and it was not necessarily all the same things that it was the month before.
Someone sent me a meme referring to what we have for normal now and what is lacking in importance from before that we won’t rush back to. We all have those things in our lives that drive us but when we don’t have them? Yeah, life is grand without them. For me, it was spending time being “busy” but not spending quality time with my children and family. I learned in this time that we can go for a ten-mile ride together and it doesn’t matter that the hill repeats waited a day, or we can spend time playing board games or just talking and I can run in the morning. I took time to really look at my life in a way that I had not for a long time.
As we ease back into our “normal” lives my goal is to not forget the things that I had time to find while we were staying at home. I want to remember the joys that I had riding my bike with no metrics, exploring new roads, and finding time to just go be me on the bike. Heck, I rode more than I had before! I want to remember that really all of this is about finding the adventure that awaits us.
It was a challenge and it was hard to do the right thing eating and exercising. Some days I did nothing and ate like a person who had no idea what calories were about. But that’s okay! It will be worked off and I know the only one who can do that is me. Some days I have high highs and low lows, and sometimes it happens in the same day! The uncertainty of it all is staggering at times. I don’t know if I will have a job tomorrow, much less when we will be able to begin working again. I get it…but I got to spend time with my family and that is a blessing!
Life is full of ups and downs. What we make of those is our decision. Much like when we find our dark spot on course, we decide how we work through that. We’ve all been there and we all do it differently but we all come out the other side. This has been a time that I got to put some deposits into my mentally tough cookie jar and I look forward to getting to use them!
Keep smiling, keep finding the good in it all, and above all find the adventure on a bike that made you fall in love with them in the first place. I can’t wait to see you all out there again soon! Until then, “Country roads, lead me home, to the place that I belong…”
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