If I could go back 12 months and tell myself something, I would say, “This season will not be what you expect or want, but it is what you need to grow up on and off the bike.”
If I could go back 6 months, I would say, “Don’t give up (and stop crying, for christ’s sake). Things are about to work out and this will all have been worth it.” I might also recommend taking a pass on that bird tattoo.
If I could go back 3 weeks, I would say, “What you are about to do will be totally worth it. This is what it means to live the dream.”
On stage 3 of Valley of the Sun, we pulled off a 2nd place finish for Sarah and a 4th place GC finish for Laura. The crit was fast and fantastic – it was too exciting for me to even register how shitty I felt, except for a few instances of hacking and coughing that got quizzical looks from other riders. Don’t mind me; I just quit smoking last week. Twenty16 kept the pace high while FCS/Visit Dallas threw out multiple attacks, so I just had to ride the wave at the front and make sure Sarah and Laura were set up as needed. I loved this race. After burning my last match at one to go to help Sarah position for the sprint, I jumped on the sidewalk and rushed back to the finish to see the end. It was so thrilling to watch my teammate sprint her ass off against a huge field to finish so well. The three of us played our hand as best we could and I wouldn’t be more proud if we’d won the whole damn thing.
I’m also proud of myself for being the racer I was this past weekend. The person who cried through starts and dropped out of everything seems long gone. Sure, I still get nervous as hell, and yes, I cried a little when I started to warm up on the last day. But this time it was because I was sad to still be sick, to be away from home, and to be saying goodbye to my teammates later that day. And then the tears passed and the racing started and holy SHITBALLS it was great. I am so glad the people in my life made sure I stayed in the sport long enough to get to this place.