So as I spent the early part of my ride crabby about the weather I figured I had better find something a bit more positive to think about. It was at this point that I realized the the snow has come and its almost gone and I hardly recognize who I was last Fall. A lot has changed!!! Change is good! I'll admit I'm rarely one to really sit back and reflect on a period of time...it's just not my style. But after racing triathlon for 6 years, these changes feel dramatic and my life has been jolted by a newly found off road passion and I think it deserves some reflection. Hell, I've learned a lot!
Here are some things I've learned while racing my bike through this never ending WINTER!! (in no particular order)...
- I don't miss running - crazy to think only 5 months ago I was telling coach how I wanted to run Pikes Peak this summer. At times in my life I have thought that I'd be devastated if i could no longer run. I haven't run more than ten feet since early November and I haven't missed it for a second.
- Relationships are not built on shared activities, they are built on shared passion - I felt guilty leaving triathlon and worried a lot about how my lack of triathlon racing would impact Tom and our shared passion to compete and chase goals. Well, I was crazy to worry about this as our passions towards each others goals have only grown stronger. I love supporting Tom and its even better now that I don't have to worry about my own race.
- You can race a bike through mud, ice, slush and snow...and you DON'T need Fat Tires to do it.
- But...Fat bikes are cool!! - I had one last year, it didn't have me at Hello. But now I can't imagine a winter without one. This bike has most certainly changed my life; it made winter seem more bearable, taught me to love the snow again, and it introduced me to some really cool new people.
- The shower is an awesome place to wash your dirty steed in the winter, period.
- It is indeed possible to race for 4.5 hours above 170bpm - this fall I would have bet the farm the opposite.
- The tri world has their shit together when it comes to putting together a world class, well-organized event - I took this for granted.
- It is possible to ride outside with temps below 10 degrees and not totally freeze my ass off!
- Training with power is powerful - I am 100% certain that training with power will equate to bigger results, Tom's even learning this too now! The investment is significant, but it's one of those things that you really you dont' "get" it until you experience it.
- Off road cyclists are tough, laid back, and authentic. I've met a lot of really cool people since I started racing bikes; I'm stoked for these new friendships and to me this sport feels like home.
- Just cuz it's a bike race, it doesn't mean that you won't end up pushing your bike more than riding it
- Training for an Ironman requires a lot of persistence and dedication - you would think I already knew this, but I was so engulfed in the chase for my Kona dream that i didn't even realize this. Watching Tom train for an Ironman from the outside looking in has opened my eyes. Tom is the most persistently dedicated person I know.
- Racing a bike off road will inevitably lead people to think you are abused - since fall I've pretty much always had at least 4-5 bruises on my legs at all times. This generates more questioning than I would have predicted.
- Shipping your bike when you travel is so much nicer than lugging it through the airport 4 times
- Racing your bike somewhere warm in the spring is amazing - I plan to do this more often in 2014