3 & 4: Openness

Four days in and I’m already behind…oops.

Kyle asked me today what I would blog about, and I said that my biggest lesson from the past cyclocross season was learning to be open. Then he teased me that everything was going to be about cyclocross. Well, it might not be…but then again…

So this past season was the first that I’ve not been in school on top of work. The previous season I had maintained. It wasn’t a great season but I didn’t loose my finishing place in the field, I beat who I had beat the year before and was beaten by those that had always beaten me. My skills did get better, and I learned more how to prepare myself for my races. So going into this season I hoped for some better finishes than the previous season. Well, I got that and more. But my performance is it’s own post.

So while the season was so satisfying on the performance level there was one main theme that started in the preseason that has carried on until this point. And it’s being open.

I’m naturally a reserved person. Making friends is not easy, I struggle to be vulnerable, I can be judgey, and I’m more likely to say no and stay in an environment that I control and know than go and experience something new. So being open has been a hard thing for me to come into. But this past year has been a transition that I’ve slowly been growing into.

So going into the ‘cross season I was really excited to race and be more involved in the actual series. With more time came the opportunities to be more present locally and start to ride and train with all the awesome people who live and ride in WNC. This started the growth of some really cool friendships that the cross season solidified. People who are genuine, who I trust, and that allowed me to be open to even more opportunities. It’s refreshing to encounter people who are real, open, and honest. Being surrounded by these people  came at the time that I was ready to be open to whatever came next…racing, sharing, learning, focusing on not saying no, embracing the opportunities that came to me at work, at play, at home. It also made me be more honest with myself, which can be scary, and define what is next in work and play after school.

I still tend to be cautious, saying no is easier than saying yes, sharing myself is hard, vocalizing what I want and need takes time. But isn’t it better to be open to all that, and the magical experiences that could come to life than to stay the same ol’ course?

So here’s to being open, the people who have given me that space (whether you knew it or not), and to saying yes.

Grateful

gratitude-quotes-thankful-quotes-grateful-quotes-happiness-quotes

There are so many lessons I’ve learn or realizations that have taken place over the last year. I think it really comes from the fact that I finished school and all the energy that was being channeled into accomplishing that goal along with working, maintaining relationships and riding my bike was now free to explore, challenge, and lead to new opportunities. So I really think that this month will serve as the opportunity at last to document, at least for me, those lessons, changes, and challenges.

If January, well, cyclo-cross nationals taught me anything it was gratefulness. The crew of people that we assembled for the local organizing committee here was one that I never would have picked…not from disliking anyone but just from not fully knowing everyone that came to play such a such role in the execution of the 2016 USA Cycling Cyclo-Cross Nationals in Asheville! Some I knew from running in similar circles. Others I knew in name only. Still others I had never met before they gave so much to bring nationals to life. And some, well, some I’ve known forever. But the magic that was created by this group of people was truly amazing to be a part of. All the frustration, exhaustion, long and cold days, doubt, excitement, energy, support, Fireball and beer, jokes, walkie talkie etiquette lessons, and understanding that flowed leading up to, into and beyond CX Nats blended together and bonded us together in this magical way that I never could have foreseen. But the feeling of euphoria during the last day of Nationals while the elite men whipped around the course, as we stomped around the race course, taking it all in, and slowly realizing that WE DID THIS, and sharing that realization wordlessly made me deeply grateful for that experience. It was worth all the hard work. It was worth the vulnerability of trusting others to be a part of something that was so precious and seeing how they made it better than it could have been with just you. And it made me grateful for each person that was open to being selfless, giving up their own races, comfort, and time to be a part of the bigger game.

This feeling has stayed with me in the 6+ months since Nationals…it’s made me more keenly aware of the opportunities to be grateful in other areas and take the magic with me, always adding a new sparkle to life.

cx nats staff
Most of the amazing CX Nats 2016 crew. Photo CC Weldon Weaver.

 I have so much love and am so thankful for these people, that experience, and its impact on my life, even month later.

(and you can see more of our shenanigans here)

Whew, just made day two! 😉

A Post a Day…?

I used to really enjoy blogging, using it as a method of tracking the changing of the seasons, my school accomplishments, and then lately my cycling pursuits. But as with many things, the season changed and other priorities moved forward, other interests attracted my attention and energy, and other activities took my time. And that’s fine!  But after a year of silence and really, rest and relaxation, I’m missing the sharing of words, if not for anyone else but for the release this provides me!

So my challenge to myself in July is a post a day. I may go back and reflect on all the amazing things the past year has held, or just think and write. The past year has brought a lot of growth, discovery, and amazing people into my life. There’ve been hard times, and hard conversations, but at the end of it I’m finding myself so grateful, so excited, and confidant in who I am and what I want. It’s a good feeling, satisfaction.

So I’ll leave it at that for now…and then leave more for later!

Changing Seasons

Looking at the last time I posted and wow. I kind of let that get away from me, didn’t I?

Well, here’s a short and sweet recap.

  • Started the second year of graduate school at North Carolina State University, as well as an elective class at the Biltmore Park Western Carolina University campus. It’s been challenging in a good way. The end is in sight for the PRTM program however, and I’m counting down to graduation in May!
  • I started a cycling team, Pure Velo Racing with the support of Crosstown Velo and Sycamore Cycles. We have some rad chicks on the team and are slowly building and getting out there.
  • It was year two for the Summer Short Track Series! A lot of fun and it’s great being able to provide a racing opportunity in the area. A highlight was having the Mars Hill Cycling team come down to the last race and throw down.
  • There was an epic end-of-summer beach trip that was completely restorative and relaxing.
  • I just returned from the NRPA Congress in Charlotte. It was my first national congress and it did not disappoint. I learned so much, and tried to absorb all the things. Despite a eye infection that resulted in an urgent care stop, I’m grateful for the opportunity. There was a lot of inspiration and thought-sparking, as well as relationship building and new experiences.

That’s the short and sweet version. I’ve been feeling challenged and spending a lot of time on my work and education, so there hasn’t been as much time to ride and train as I would like, but I know while I can do anything, I can’t do everything. So here’s to getting it done!

A Long Time Coming

I know. I’ve failed at blogging. I have plenty of excuses…. School. Working full-time. Training. Racing (31 races in 2012!). Traveling to Mountain Bike and Cyclocross Nationals. Etc. Etc. Etc. Fact is, there have been other priorities. So no excuses, that’s just how it is. 

But, so many awesome things have happened and I do want to continue to share and document them. So here goes!

I finally fully got my dream job. I’m exactly where I want to be, and where my talents, passions and education can be used in awesome ways! It’s really exciting! I feel empowered and thankfully have an amazing work environment that lets me grow and do cool things. It has been an adjustment, the timing wasn’t perfect due to me being in the midst of a full time semester, but I survived and didn’t make any compromises between my two tasks. 

I traveled once again to Angel Fire, NM for the 2012 USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike Nationals. I was disappointed in myself, my performance was not what I had hoped, and as a team we encountered some challenges from injuries. Still, I’m proud of our performance, which put us on the bottom step of the podium in DII. 

November brought a little calm to my crazy life and I started to step up training once again and do some of the NCCX cyclocross series races. I love cross, I love mountain bike, and it’s hard to say which I love more. But this season was definitively a stronger cross season than mountain bike season. The collegiate cyclocross season is really short for SECCC, and since the Mars Hill team did the majority of the races , I found myself as the DII Individual Omnium Women’s Champion! It was really exciting, since I’m not usually at the top! I even won a collegiate race for my first W ever! I also got my first payout finish at one of the MSG series races in Tenn! The culmination of cyclocross comes for us at the USA Cycling National Championships! I love cx nats, it’s bigger than other nationals since it’s not just for collegiate nationals. I’ll do a write up of that weekend soon with all the details and stories! But long story short, we all raced our hearts out in crazy muddy and below freezing temps to tie with Bevard College, and lost the tie-breaker to take 2nd place in DII. While I am disappointed that we didn’t take home the stars and stripes for a second year, I’m content with my performance. I put it all out there, and I know the rest of my team did as well.

Now it’s back to my last semester as an undergrad, complete with internship! I’m lucky that it works out to complete it in tandem with my current position. Road season will be here soon enough and I’ve got a lot to learn and train for! 

2012 was amazing. 2013 will be even better.

Ah…Finally!

Well, I’ve been meaning to post a post all summer. Obviously that did not happen. A super quick recap: first non-collegiate mountain bike (got 2nd), gardening, lots of mountain biking, lots of working, family events, start of fall semester, and now! Told you it would be super quick! Currently, I am on the team bus somewhere in Tennessee en route to Union College’s mountain bike race in Kentucky, and it seemed like a good time to actually get an entire post out!

The summer really was fantastic—a lot of friend time, working at my favorite place, many mountain bike rides, garden experiments and general fun summer-ness! At the same time, I feel like I missed a lot of summer lazy since I was trying to fill up my time with friends and fun! Not a bad thing at all I guess.

In August the Mars Hill fall semester started. It’s my senior year, which feels great. My degree goal is so close and yet still so far! Thankfully, I only have 4 classes this semester, which is making it possible for me to continue working. One of my classes is an outdoor and leadership class where we’ll be canoeing, rock climbing, doing outdoor skills and intuitive games. I’ve loved being on the river in any capacity possible and am loving getting more chances to play in boats on rivers. Next summer I plan on taking part in a women’s kayaking clinic to get even more skills and comfort in the water.

The team mountain bike season started last week at Eastern Tennessee State University. It was great getting to race so close to home! Our overall results were about what was expected since we’re focusing on Nationals versus conference this year. I was disappointed in my short track performance, but it was what I knew it would be. There’s no replacement for those hard threshold workouts regardless of what you tell yourself! Needless to say, last weekend was the motivation I needed to refocus my energy on training whenever I have a chance. That in of itself is a challenge due to my schedule. But you know me, I function well with a high level of activity!

I am looking forward to this mountain bike season and returning to Angel Fire for Nationals in October! I’m trying gravity events this year too! My goal for those events is to get from point A to point B and have fun doing it! There’s more focus on short track and cross country, which I am more comfortable with due to more experiences. I’m also looking ahead to cyclocross season! I now have a beautiful cross bike via Beer City Bicycles that I cannot wait to race. More on that later however.

All in all, it has been a great summer and a successful start to the new school year!

Ahh…

Wow. That’s about all I can say about the last few weeks. Since August hit there’s been a constant stream of activities, events, schedule changes, and adjustments. But it’s all good. I wouldn’t mind just settling into things right now, and that will come as August ends and September jumps into the game.

My birthday was on the 7th. 23 years old, prime and super fine! I don’t feel 23, I think learning (and being surrounded by youngsters) is keeping me youthful or something. I celebrated with dinner one night, and a ride followed by dinner and beer on the actual day. It was so great being surrounded by my favorite people and enjoying the feelings of summer.

And then school started! I actually really enjoy learning. I need that structure and stimulation in my life. Not that I’m planning on being a career student or anything, but I do appreciate knowledge. It’s been an adjustment since I am commuting about 40 mins to and from school. I also have to get up early, which is super lame. I’m enjoying all my classes, even economics, which is going to be my difficult class this semester.

I’m continuing to train for cycling. I had the privilege of getting power-tested last week at Spin-Tech, a local training center who helps sponsor the Mars Hill Cycling Team. They’ve graciously given me a six week training session, which I started today. It felt great and I cannot wait to see how much I can increase my stamina and power in the next few weeks.

I’m a little sad to see “summer” go, but I know there’s room for a few more magical swims, impromptu picnics, and bonfires.