It wasn’t until I went away to Vermont for college that I experienced a strong sense of community and made everlasting friendships with my like-minded hippy spirits. I finally found people that understood me and loved me for who I was, I blossomed into the person I always wanted to be and for the first time in my life I felt comfortable doing that. It was the first time I enjoyed the fun and excitement of festivals and hippy gatherings alike. I went to events such as Reggae Fest, Ben & Jerry’s Festival and Bread and Puppet. I found a community of people that I loved and felt supported in. I moved to Colorado the winter of 2003 and went on my first mountain bike ride that following summer. The next summer I jumped on a bike and tried racing some local XC races and thought it was ok. The next summer I did my first 24 Hour race, Montezuma’s Revenge. I lived in Montezuma at the time and loved the idea of racing literally out my back door. The camaraderie I had felt years ago in Vermont resurfaced at a venue I never dreamed I would be in. I found a new group of people so amazingly supportive, energetic and positive, most of them I had never met before.
One of my favorite things about racing is getting to see all the wonderful people I have met throughout the years. I ride by myself a great deal of the time, I think mainly because I don’t want to be responsible for taking other people on my wild goose chases and, not everybody likes my go-with-the-flow style of riding. However when I do get to ride with my fellow bike riding nuts, I absolutely shine and love it, they inspire me. I do races that involve the self-support rules and races that do not. This past weekend I raced the 12 Hours of Mesa Verde and although I competed in the solo single-speed category, it was not a solo experience. First I had my one man support crew and boyfriend, Matt Fletcher, lubing my chain and offering me my assortment of fruit choices in between laps. We pitted with the guys from Kokopelli Bike and Board, the team to which I am the newest member. Even though I spent little time in the pit getting to know everyone, I couldn’t have picked a better group of guys and team to be a part of. Matt enjoyed hanging out with the wives as the boys and I raced around in circles for 12 hours. Secondly I had crowds of people cheering me on, making me feel like a champion, old friends, new friends, acquaintances and strangers. My friend Dave Byers rode behind me and entertained me with jokes, stories, songs and movie quotes for my second and third lap. I grew discouraged at the end of lap three as my body started to hurt, way too soon in my opinion. He left me with REM’s “Everybody Hurts”, it would become my theme song for the next 7 hours. It was a fine reminder that everybody was or would be hurting. Simple and true words that had a great affect on my mood and state of mind from then on out, thank you Dave and congrats on such a strong race!
I ended up winning my category and completing 7 laps, goal number one and two accomplished!
I don’t think I could have done this without the amazing coaching skills of LW. Thank you Lynda for believing in me! I also can’t say that I felt great after the first few hours which was a little discouraging but as Eszter reminded me, you really aren’t supposed to feel that great while racing your bike hard for 12 hours. As much as I tried to relax my body, every little bump started to hurt which caused me to go slower and slower. Pre-riding this course I would not have described it as technical but after 3 laps I changed my tune. Seven times on Toughy Rim hurts something fierce.
Sunday after the race some friends came over for breakfast and as I fumbled around the kitchen with Eszter’s great help cooking yummy food with flax, eggs, and vegetables, Chris made sure that the French Press never remained empty. For the next 5 hours I grazed around my kitchen, eating, visiting, talking, reliving moments of the race. I asked my friend Katie Stamp what we would talk about if we didn’t ride bikes, we decided that we would just sit around in silence.
Biking changed my world in so many ways I never imagined possible and it has been a vehicle for me to not only visit really cool and interesting places but to meet even more cool and interesting people. I am thankful beyond words for every single one of you!