Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Pushing Mental Road Blocks....

I started this blog post off a bit "whoa is me" but then deleted everything and decided to start over. Here's the deal, I really don't have time for a pity party even though I think about hosting one at least once a day.

There is so much in life to be thankful for and this past weekend was a weekend of firsts for me. And some would say, "It's about time."

Saturday morning I put off my own training ride to ride with others. Seems totally fitting since so many of my friends have put off or altered their workouts to come with me.

My friend from Team Endured reached out seeking cyclists to accompany a handful of athletes on their course preview of the Peachtree Road Race. Sarah was supposed to ride with me so I reached out to her to see if she was interested. Of course she was! I met up with Sarah at her house near Chastain Park and then we rode over to meet up with the crew.
Along with a couple of other cyclists and sag support from the Shepard Center, we escorted, blocked intersections and provided a barrier as the athletes pushed their way up Peachtree including Heartbreak Hill.
I will absolutely be channeling these guys as I'm running the course in a few weeks. They tackled the hills without any whining or cussing which is something I am just not capable of doing. I mean I can do the hills, just not without the cussing.

After riding back to Sarah's house I headed to the Silver Comet, some place I haven't ridden since last October. It's a familiar old friend, but I was also reminded how tough it can be to ride there if you don't start early. There are too many people who believe the path belongs to them and them alone. To stick with the positive theme of the blog, I got to visit the FOUNTAIN!
Chlorine dip, a little conditioner, and dry clothes and I was able to head straight to my nephew's baseball game. Oh and I got to proselytize about triathlon to two women who were out there spreading the word of God.

The next day was a huge mental break through for me. I agreed to, and actually showed up to a group ride led by people I had never ridden with before on a route I had nightmares about. I acknowledged in Ironwilled: Women Who TRI that I fear the group ride. Why? I am not swift on my bike. Am I faster than others, yes; but slower than most. I fear getting dropped (dropped = lost). My own internal guilt kicks in that I'm messing up someone else's workout or making everyone else wait too long and then when I roll up, I have to roll out. Therefore, no rest. I fear failure in front of others.

But I went anyway. I went to ride the Gaps with ITL Coaching and Performance for an advertised No Drop Ride. This means, no one gets left behind.

That's me in the white, surrounded by a sea of blue...
photo credit: itlcoaching
As it would turn out, I was right. I was the slowest one out there. It ended up being one of the those experiences that I would have pushed through on my own, but was so much better having a friend there. After our first regroup, Angela (founder of Team Endured) dropped back and stayed with me. If I cussed too much (if there is such a thing) she just reminded me to push-pull. And surprisingly, my cadence wasn't awful, I just didn't move very fast. Moreover, after the first meet up, the rest of the group went on and that was PERFECTLY fine with me. However, I wasn't dropped. Coach Chris and Coach George both kept regularly circling back. They offered words of encouragement and compliments. "Nice cadence, just hold it and keep moving forward." They both even hung out a few times and chatted. The best was getting updates as too how much further the next peak was. It was great to know it was eventually going to end. I could not have asked for a better first experience riding the Gaps or doing a workout with ITL. These coaches exemplified what I have seen from most triathletes and coaches: true inclusion and encouragement. Oddly enough, no one called me pugnacious...
I can't get a better screen shot so you might need to click on the picture to see the elevation.
No filter. The camera lense was sweaty. Best picture of the day too! 
Huge mental break through for me this weekend agreeing to go to the group ride, actually showing up, and finishing it!

It's still a long road to IM Louisville. So far, I haven't been given anything I can't handle and there is something to be said for that. I'm looking forward to getting up to preview the Louisville course in July. I think that will help my lack of excitement about IMLou as well.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Dear Motorist....

In the past couple of days, 2 people have brazenly posted as their Facebook status their desire to either see a cyclist injured or to inflict injury on to an unsuspecting cyclist. Needless to say, the cycling and triathlon community has gone...
and rightfully so. We are tired of burying our friends. Many have reached out to these individual's employers. Many have written them messages. Many of these messages have not been kind. I think we are taking the wrong approach.

Let me change thoughts for a quick moment...

We as the cycling community must police our own. We must be the example of how one should ride on the road. We need to follow the rules of the road. Obey traffic signs. Obey traffic lights. In Georgia while law permits us to ride 2 abreast (and sometimes that is the smartest way to ride) we don't have to! If we want motorists to share the road with us, we must share it with them!

Remember respect is earned, not given. If we wish to be respected on the road then we need to respect those we share the road with. PERIOD. End of story. You know who you are, STOP CYCLING LIKE AN ASSHOLE!

I'm not a an asshole on my bike. I yield when I'm supposed too. I wave and thank drivers I cross paths with. I share the road back.

Now, back to the people who posted recently wishing me harm. (I know, it wasn't me directly, but it could have been.) This is my suggestion if you choose to reach out to them. Kill 'em with kindness and rational though.

Dear Motorist,

I'm sorry I delayed you a few moments while you had to wait to safely pass me. However, I also want to thank you. Thank you for losing those few moments to make sure I stayed safe while riding my bike. Thank you for sharing the road with me, I'm doing the best to share it back with you. That big goofy wave I gave you, that's because I wanted you to know I was waving and not, well, giving you the finger. So I use a big ol' goofy wave. I don't know if you are aware or not, but it is not legal for me to ride my bike on the sidewalk. That's right, if you are over 12 years of age, it is against the law to ride on the sidewalk.

You should know, I'm not the only one thanking you for giving up those few moments to pass me. My mom and dad thank you. My niece and nephews thank you. My brother and sister thank you. My friends thank you also.

See, I'm more than just a triathlete trying to stay healthy and train for my next race. I'm a daughter. I'm a sister. I'm an aunt. I'm a friend. I'm a coach. I'm an employee.

When you sacrifice those couple of moments to get around me, you give me another opportunity to continue pursuing my goals and my dreams. You allow me to celebrate the next birthday, holiday, special occasion with my family and friends.

These thoughts I share with you are not original and many people with much greater influence than I have shared them. I just wanted to take a moment and thank YOU for sacrificing those couple of moments.

Please, I implore you, pass me like you love me because someone out there does.