“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
Rolling paved roads except for one mile of straight dirt road. There it was. Racing on dirt. I practiced the course two times prior to the race, but I was intimated and terrified of the dirt section.
I accepted – again – that I wasn’t making any podiums or doing all the grand anyway. I told myself, “I’m just trying this whole racing thing out. As long as I finish.”
Who was I kidding?
I’m far too competitive to not try to win or beat others. But I knew my weakness and it was one mile long. I was given plenty of tips:
- Don’t death grip your handle bars.
- Put your weight on your feet.
- Don’t try to control the bike.
- Just be loose.
- Don’t jerk the bike around.
- Just have fun.
It wouldn’t matter what anyone told me – I was scared shitless.
And then a miracle happened.
It rained the night before and apparently the dirt road was too muddy to safely race. They changed the course and knocked off the dirt section. Score.
I wasn’t confident enough to start at the front of the pack so I squeezed my way to the back. The neutral 1-mile start lasted for like, 5 miles. there were a group of women at the front keeping us at some stead pace. I wasn’t a fan.
The first little hill had us in a clusterfuck. There are hard rules on crossing the yellow. I distinctly remember a chick fucking around in front of me. I watched three women sprint off. I called my pass and she moved over in front of me. I could have crossed the line, but I was fearful of breaking rules and getting kicked out. I waited for her to move and then I booked it.
I was the chaser.
I huffed and puffed and pedaled my ass off to catch up with these ladies. They kept looking back at me as I approached them. Then we started a paceline and took turns pulling. We remained ahead of the group by 30 seconds for the remainder of the race, never slowing down for a breath.
The final 1 km.
I saw the sign. I was pulling the group at the time. I turned back and asked, “how’s everyone doing?” as if were a team. I was told, “good” and then she pumped it up. Jennifer started her sprint at 1 km out. I decided I had nothing to lose and followed suit. We sprinted to the finish and Jennifer actually lost steam. I still had a little in me. And boom. 3rd place.
The shock hit me. Again. How the fuck did I do this?
And then there I was, accepting my bronze medal and my short step on the podium.
Still blown away I made third place today at the Clasica de Rio Grande race. Another team effort with three other ladies. I bridged a giant gap at a hill, wasn’t sure if I’d catch up with them, but I did, and we rotated the rest of the course. We had a sprint finish and somehow I had a little more in me and finished third. That was crazy fun and it was so cool to celebrate with the ladies and my @pedalracing teammates. It made it all worth it seeing @estrada5280 losing his shit watching me make third. . . . . #racing #whereiride #cyclistlife #cyclinglife #cycling #cyclist #womenwhoride #onmybike #instacyclist #instaathlete #athlete #resultsstarthere #nuunambassador #cyclelikeagirl #pedalracing #colorado #coloradocycling #coloradoracing #bikeracing #thirdplace #optoutside