How I Became a Spidermonkey
Where do I even begin? How do I break down the last two years of my cycling life into in a single blog entry? How can I share all my ups, downs and in-betweens in a few short words, sentences or even paragraphs? The only answer I keep coming back to is, I can’t. Ironically, those two words no longer exist in my vocabulary because of what I’ve learned on the bike over the past 2 years. To keep this brief and easy to follow, I’m going to break down the last two years of my cycling life into three categories… before, during and after I joined SMC and found, “my people.”
Forgive me for my bluntness, but 2015 sucked. It sucked for a lot of reasons, but two reasons stand out the most. First, I went through a horrible breakup that nearly broke me to my core, and second, I unexpectedly discovered a family member was very sick. Both unfortunate events happened roughly around the same time and completely turned my world upside down. People kept telling me, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” and “you have to go through a little rain to see the rainbow,” but frankly, I didn’t care. The only thing I knew for certain was that I passionately wanted 2015 to be over. Life as I knew it had changed and I realized I had two options 1. I could change with it or 2. I could remain miserable and salty for the rest of my life. Luckily, with the help of close friends and family, a wonderful therapist and some much-needed soul searching, I found bike racing.
Somewhere in the middle of ‘The Great Shit Storm of 2015’ and ‘Ok 2016, Let’s Do This,’ I timidly entered the world of triathlon. This was the best worst thing that ever happened to me. While I rediscovered my hatred for running and struggled to stay afloat during the swim, I learned that biking fast made me happy. I didn’t know what it meant or where it would eventually take me, I just knew I needed to be on my bike. Pedal stroke by pedal stroke I started to feel mentally and physically stronger. Group riding with triathletes turned into group riding with cyclists, and before I knew it, I was a bike racer. I could write novels and tell stories for days about my first racing season, however, words can’t really do justice for how it made me feel or describe the relationships I formed along the way. The biggest takeaway was, as terrified and nervous as I was to show up and to be seen, I did it anyways and learned it was EXACTLY where I needed to be. It didn’t take long before I started meeting other cyclists and racers… and then… IT HAPPENED… I met the fine folks of SMC and instantly knew I had found, “my people.”
While I didn’t want to hear it at the time, all the pain and misery I went through in 2015 lead me to who, and where, I am today… and so it goes. The more I bike, the more I heal. The more I heal, the more willing I am to take risks and to try new things. The more new things I try, the more confident I become. The more confident I become, the more I accomplish. The more I accomplish, the more passion I develop. The more passion I develop, the more success I find. The more success I find, the happier I am. The happier I am, the more alive I feel. So, on behalf of my past, present and future self, I’m looking forward to discovering more of life’s ups, downs and in-betweens. I’m looking forward to pushing myself on and off the bike, embracing and leaning into the discomfort of change, learning more about my strengths and weaknesses, developing and maintaining my lifelong cycling friendships, and trusting my journey. In the meantime, thanks for a great ride friends, let’s go play bikes!
|Scopin the Snake at the Snake Alley Crit 2016
|Medals from the IL State Championship 2017
|Proud to have an early season win