“The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine.” ~John Howard
As my road season comes to a close (there are still a couple of races left), I want to take a few moments to reflect on my season. Along the way, I’ve learned some valuable lessons.
1. Hang in there. Don’t ever quit…even in the pouring rain!
I learned this lesson the hard way. This summer has been unbelievably wet with several of my races being held in heavy rain, wind, and most of the time with thunder and lightning. While this can be the recipe for disaster in a criterium, I managed to keep the rubber down!
2. Work hard, train hard, and you will see results.
Finally, I am able to see some marked improvement in my riding and racing. I’m still not where I want to be, but I’ve made huge progress in my racing. I can finish with the pack, which I was unsuccessful doing last year. I also have raced a lot more this season than I have in the last couple. Those experiences have helped me gain confidence and abilities that I didn’t realize that I was missing.
3. The cycling scene will provide you with opportunities you never imagined!
This year I was given so much good fortune and opportunities through cycling. I was selected as a Specialized Women’s Ambassador, start leading the women’s ride on Wednesdays, and became a USA Cycling Level 3 Coach. I’ve made new friends along the way and have strengthened existing friendships.
4. There’s always next year!
Yep. We can always do better. I have bigger goals for next season. I learned a lot this year, but there’s more that I need to learn and more effort I need to put in before my goals are realized.
5. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
That’s the most important lesson of all. You shouldn’t get so caught up in racing that you can’t take the time to realize how much fun riding and racing is. It’s not always about whether or not you reached your desired outcome in a race (someone always finishes first, someone always finishes last, and there is always a middle), it’s about the fun and the friendships you gain through the experience. It’s about pushing yourself harder and farther than you ever thought and then doing it again. Take the time to enjoy it, reflect on successes and failures of course, but have fun!
Next up…? Who knows? I am going to attempt mountain biking and will probably do a couple of ‘cross races. The women’s ride is going to continue with some night-time riding (with lights, of course), so stay tuned!
The summer in review: