Tag Archives: passion

Hold my beer, …

“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” ~ Sir Edmund Hillary

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As Sunday quickly approaches, I am left to ponder what the hell I have managed to get myself into yet again. After all, since the beginning of my cycling journey I haven’t been known for making the soundest decisions…

Here is the formal description of this Sunday’s Six Gap Century Ride:
“The Six Gap Century boasts many of the same roads and mountain climbs as the elite Tour de Georgia. The ultra­-challenging route takes you up and down six of the steepest climbs in the North Georgia Mountains. Elevations on the six gaps in this ride range from 1,400 feet to 3,460 feet. The toughest climb, Hogpen Gap, will challenge even the strongest riders, averaging a 7% grade for seven miles, with sections as steep as 15%.”


Let me give a little history lesson about some of this course… In 2014, Three Gap Fifty which consists of the first and last two “gaps” (climbs) of Six Gap Century was my very first organized ride EVER. Yes, a Miami girl decided that her first organized ride ever would be 58 miles with 6,385 vertical feet of climbing. If I may say so myself, it was NOT my smartest move ever…

Wolfpen Gap made me cry. I wanted to quit. I wanted to throw my bike off the mountain and never ride again.

But I did not quit.
I did not throw my bike off the mountain.
I did not even walk once.
But, had one more person told me that the rest stop was ‘right around the next turn’ I may have opted to get off my bike and throw them AND their bike off the mountain.

I finished Three Gap Fifty and it was amazing, glorious, and utterly painful all at the same time. That was the day that I truly fell in love with riding in the mountains.

There is something about the pain and suffering that goes along with riding in the mountains that I hate, love, and crave all at the same time. It is the epitome of entering the “pain cave” and “embracing the suck.” There is no way around it and the only way to go is up, one pedal stroke at a time. There is this funny swerving movement that starts to happen when going suuuuper sloooow up a steep incline… You can’t control it, it just happens. When stuck in that space you only have two options, keep pedaling or get off and walk. The problem with quitting and walking is the realization that you will have to walk the rest of the way up because there is absolutely no way to get back on your bike and get forward momentum again. So you just keep pedaling, one stroke after another, how ever you have to in order to keep moving. When one set of muscles starts to hurt, you simply start pulling up on your strokes until those muscles start hurting too and then you go back to pedaling like normal. You repeat the process over and over and over again until you reach the top.

It appears that I love to put myself through the wringer whenever possible. Despite, analyzing this fact to death, I have yet to figure out exactly why I do these things to myself.

I love a challenge.
I love the feeling of being on the edge of life and death.
I love proving the doubters (including myself) wrong.
I love the suffering.
I love giving everything I have and then digging deeper for a tiny bit more.
I love crossing the finish line.
I love the exhaustion and rush of emotions that comes afterwards.

Six Gap Century is a bucket list ride for me and I have been waiting three years to finally get to do it. (I even tried to convince my friend we should do it in 2014, thank God that he knew better than I did then.) Unfortunately, this has not been a banner year for me so far with all these injuries. I am not going into this ride having trained how I wanted/needed to. But, what I do know is that I am in 100% better shape now than when I did Three Gap Fifty, Assault on the Carolinas, and The Assault on Mt. Mitchell (read about my Mt. Mitchell ride here: The quest towards a century ride, REALIZED.). I also know that I have a bike that is lighter, faster, and better than the one I had back then. And, most importantly, I know the drive and determination that I carry inside me to be successful at the stupid things I challenge myself to.

What’s the saying? “If you’re going to be dumb then you better be tough.”

I am incredibly lucky that I am going to be able to do this ride with one of my favorite people and biggest inspirations, Caroline. She is, by far, my favorite training partner (sorry Zac). Caroline drives me to be better at everything that I do. I know that there will be moments where I will want to quit and may not be able to rely on my own brain/heart to push me forward so I am thankful that I will have her there to look over at and give me the “put on your big girl panties and suck it up” face.

Although I am nervous about how my foot and hip will hold up, I am beyond excited for the challenge that is ahead of me. I have been waiting for this day for so long and I am 100% sure that the climbs and descents will not disappoint. My main goal for Sunday is to soak up every single second of this experience no matter how difficult it gets.

I have written about visualization in some of my past posts and that is exactly what I have been doing the last few days, visualizing this experience and visualizing myself (in one piece) crossing that finish line.

And, let me tell ya… the end of this ride feels pretty damn sweet.

See everyone on the flipside!

Complicatingly Uncomplicated

“Life is found in the dance between your deepest desire and your greatest fear. ~Tony Robbins”

The road.
The road is my home.
The road is where I belong.
The road is where solace, peace, and understanding live.
The road is uncomplicated; its twists, turns, and obstacles are marked.
The road is complicatingly uncomplicated.

Life.
Life is complicated.
As uncomplicated as you strive to make life, complication always appears.
Life’s twists and turns are not marked; sometimes these objects are closer than they appear.
Life is complicatingly complicated.

As much as I run from complication, I continue to find myself nestled right in its arms.
So I turn to the road…

I visit the road to escape from life.
I visit the road to escape complication.
I visit the road to find solace, peace, and understanding.
I visit the road to tire my brain, to exhaust my heart, to close my eyes, to simply “be.”

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Photo Credit: Caroline Worrall

370 miles by 37

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“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?” ~Satchel Paige

A couple weeks after doing Ironman 70.3 Florida (which I have yet to blog about) I got injured playing kickball. Kickball… Not one of the bagillion asinine other things that I do on a daily basis, I got hurt playing an elementary school sport. I went to the orthopedic clinic the next day and the diagnosis sucked just as bad as the pain in my foot. “It’s most likely a stress fracture but no way to tell for sure without an MRI.” This was quickly followed up with, “you’ll have to wear walking boot which means no swimming, cycling, or running for a while.”

Excuse me. No what?

To say the time in the boot sucked would be the understatement of the year… I had to pass my bike in the living room every day, multiple times a day, and it looked so sad just sitting there. I tried to follow the doctor’s plan as much as I could but I did throw in a ride, just to see if I could.

When I went back to the doctor, just shy of a month later, he cleared me to wean out of the boot, start riding/swimming again, and slowly start running again as well. ‘Wean out of the boot,’ to me, meant the boot was completely done. I went right back into riding with no issue but running was a different story…

When I finally started running again, I could tell that I had lost a lot of the run endurance that I had built up through my Ironman 70.3 training. Not only had I lost the endurance but my foot would burn while I ran making it that much harder to go faster and further. After several runs, I decided that this was probably going to be my ‘new normal.’ My age was catching up to me. I was starting to feel old. I felt like my body was starting to betray me. I hate getting old. When I turned 21, I was ready to stop counting. Unfortunately, that’s just not how life works.

Friends and family kept asking me what I was training for next, what races were on my calendar… I had no answer for that question because I had no clue. My body felt off and weak but I knew I needed something… I needed something to push towards. I needed something to make me believe again. I needed something to help me stop feeling broken.

Injuries steal something from you; not just endurance, muscle mass, or other physical stuff. Injuries emotionally rob you too. Injuries make you begin to doubt your body’s ability to be pushed to the brink because injuries are a stark reminder that there actually is a limit to what your body can take. They remind you that, even if you make it through training for crazy events injury-free, it is something small and unexpected that can sweep the rug from under your feet and knock you down.

On Thursday, June 16 I decided to go to a 4 mile group run with some friends that starts from a local beer/wine shop called Tipples Brews. It was the third Thursday so they bring out the race clock, which means I would inevitably be pushing harder than normal because I always want to ‘beat’ the clock. And pushing myself to the brink is exactly what I did… I took off near the front of the pack right behind a friend that I know likes to push her pace which makes me push right behind her. My foot started to burn around mile 2 but I wasn’t ready to back off so I kept pushing. Somewhere between mile 2 and 3 she got further and further away as she pushed her pace more but I kept steady to mine. Mile 3 was brutal but I dug deep and ended up finishing the 4 miles in 34:08 (8:32min/mile). I was on an emotional high from a great pace coupled with having had a couple ciders when I decided to give myself a seemingly impossible challenge to achieve…

I was going to ride 370 miles in 7 days.

Why 370 miles and why in 7 days? You see, a couple hours before the group run I realized that it was my last Thursday of being 36 years old. I knew the way the rest of the week was going to go already… Every day I was going to wake up and have the same conversation with myself, “Oh my God, it’s the last Friday… Saturday… Sunday… Monday… Tuesday… Wednesday…”

I didn’t want to do it; I needed to change the story in my mind. My M.O. tends to be that whenever I need to change the story in my mind, I dream up some outrageous thing to strive towards, something that will take up my time and distract me from whatever negativity needs to be avoided. I knew there was no way that I was going to run 37 miles on my birthday and riding 37 miles would be nothing big. I needed something bigger, something crazy. So that’s what I did… I gave myself a crazy challenge to pull my focus away from feeling weak, away from thinking about the upcoming change of my age number…

I had no plan and definitely no clue on how exactly I was going to achieve this goal but I knew that I needed to feel as if someone was going to hold me accountable towards completing it. I went to social media and shouted from the rooftops that this was my goal. I knew that, if I put it out into the universe, there was no room for failure. Then all I had to do was start riding…

And ride I did… Rolling into the weekend, I knew I had to ride big miles because I still had to work full time and take care of a pair of kids while trying to achieve this monstrous goal. I was reminded of a question someone once asked me while we were facing a seemingly impossible task at work, “Do you know the best way to eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” I didn’t think about the bigger goal, I broke it down and focused on smaller goals and each individual ride I was doing. I stayed in the present and quit worrying about everything on the peripheral.

The days went something like this:

Day 1: 100 miles total for the day. 6 rides: 33.5 miles, 10.06 miles, 10.55 miles, 26.23 miles, 4.17 miles, 16.11 miles

Day 2: 70 miles total for the day. 2 rides: 56.14 miles, 14.22 miles

Day 3: 72 miles total for the day. 2 rides: 52.18 miles, 20.18 miles

Day 4: 48 miles total for the day. 2 rides: 28.12 miles, 20.34 miles

Day 5: 43 miles total for the day. 2 rides: 23.26 miles, 20.20 miles

Day 6: Rest day, yay!

Day 7: MY BIRTHDAY!! 1 Ride, 37 miles in honor of turning 37!! Plus I threw in a brick run with my boys just because J

Total riding time: 23:00:34 at an average pace of 16.1mph


Deep down, I knew this goal was about more than just getting it done… It was about reflecting on the current state of my life and the past 37 years. I have consistently written about the peace that I feel when I am riding, even on the especially tough days. Riding is my happy place. Riding is the place where I hash out my life and these 370 miles were no different. I learned new lessons and was reminded of old lessons while out of the road over these 7 days.

  1. Anything is possible. Not only is this the motto for Ironman but it is the damn truth. Anything is possible as long as you put your mind to it and you work hard to get to where you want to be. Life really is mind over matter; as long as you believe, you can achieve. There are so many more clichés that I could throw in right here because they are all so very true. There were moments where I doubted myself but those were far outweighed by the moments where I knew I would not allow myself to fail. I don’t like failing and I certainly wasn’t going to fail at my own self-imposed birthday goal.
  1. This year had more gains than losses. This past year had been one of growth and learning, it brought with it a lot of losses but even more gains. I needed the time out there on the open road to put that into perspective. While the losses were significant, the gains were exponentially larger.Training for Ironman 70.3 brought with it an entire new foundation of friends; I gained a new support network. Whether my new friends were runners, cyclists, or triathletes, they accepted me with open arms. The amazing thing about these wonderful humans? Once you met one, you were instantly linked to 10 more. It was truly as if I had known them for years. They were ready to push and challenge me around every corner, never allowing me to give up. The time and effort that all these wonderful people put into themselves and everyone around them is a thing of beauty, everyone wants to help everyone and everyone is a family. Thank you to each and every one of them for entering into my life at the most opportune moment.

    A special thanks to Caroline, one of my newest pals, who came through to help me suffer on two of my fifteen rides on this journey. I won’t even begin to talk about all the texts she sent me pushing me to roll out of bed and keep moving towards my goal. Thank you. Thank you from the depths of my soul. You were my champion this week and will forever be a true friend. Things like this are what make people who were once strangers become friends and eventually even family.


    This past year also brought with it a change of employment. It was not a change that I was ready for but it was definitely a change that, in hindsight, was much needed. I had been at my previous job for 6 years and the stress levels were crazy high there. My new job is much more relaxed and is a semi-vaca from clinical work which is a very welcome change. I have great coworkers that constantly have me laughing and have brought another layer of wonderfulness to my already charmed life.
  1. Even a glorious failure can be an immense success. I won’t get deep into this because it will be delved into much deeper in a later post (hopefully). The gist of this is that sometimes what one person calls a failure is actually a success. And, sometimes you need some “failures” to propel you towards an even bigger success. I am so proud of everything I have accomplished this year, whether it be a glorious failure or a resounding success, I am proud of it all. I think this Robert Louis Stevenson quote about sums it up, “Our business in life is not to succeed, but to continue to fail in good spirits.”
  1. I am such a lucky girl. Anytime that I feel myself slip into sadness all I have to do is take a step back and look around me. I am surrounded by so much love, friendship, and family. I have so many friends in my life that have been there for years upon years. It has to say something about a person if they can rattle out the names of so many friends they have had for 10+ years, not to mention the two best friends that have been in my life for 29+ years each!! I may not have a “partner” to walk through life with yet but I have so many wonderful friends that are there precisely at the moments when I need them most, some before I even realize that I need them at all.I can honestly say that I don’t think I ever take my wonderful friends for granted but I do believe that, sometimes when we allow ourselves to wallow in whatever pain has overcome us, we forget the things/people we have directly in front of us. Sometimes we let the pain take over and steal our joy. I am trying to do a better job with moving myself through pain by reminding myself of all the goodness in my life. Sometimes this works and sometimes I fail at it but, like I said earlier, even failure at something can be a grand success in the long run. Sometimes we need to just feel the pain before we can move through. Continuing to focus on the positive of all the things I DO have is definitely a goal for my next year.
  1. Being single ain’t so bad. I love love. I love being in love. I love having a person. But, I have been loving being single and immersing myself in training. I have learned that I don’t need to have someone in my life; I don’t need to be in a relationship with anyone but myself. This has been an interesting lesson for me since I have been so used to being in relationships. I am such a social person that being alone in itself used to be painful. Through my few years of cycling, I learned how to be alone. I learned how to be alone and ok with my thoughts and myself. This year was different because I wasn’t only alone out on the road; I was alone when I came home too. These 370 miles were a reminder of what I already knew… Being alone is ok. Furthermore, being alone isn’t just ok, it’s wonderful. I get to do what I choose to do, train when I want to train, I get to dictate my own life (when my kids aren’t doing that, obviously). I get to be the master of my own peace, something which I didn’t even realize until this year. I am open to the idea of someone coming into my life but, until that happens, I am happy and ok being alone.
  1. I am NOT broken. Age is just a number. Everything happens for a reason. I am pretty sure this speaks for itself given the ridiculous goal I achieved. Getting injured wasn’t the end of the road for me, I got to heal and keep going. I may not understand the reason behind why I got hurt, no one ever wants to get hurt, but it happened for a reason. Maybe the reason was to propel me to set this goal and smash it so that I could see that getting old doesn’t mean that I will be worth any less than the younger person at the start line next to me. I have to push harder to fight the aging process but that’s a challenge that I am totally willing to accept. Bring it on life!

I believe there are probably tons of lessons that I am forgetting at this precise moment but these six were by far the most important of this experience. I am sure that they will come to me later on and then I will get to mold them into their very own blog post. For now, though, these are enough.

Life is going to keep coming and there is nothing that I or anybody else can do to slow it down. I might have to live life on life’s terms but you better believe that I will be trying to control those terms as much as is humanly possible. I truly can’t wait to see what the next 37 years brings with it! Who knows… maybe there will even be a RAAM ride in there somewhere (Ride Across America, check it out!)

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What is love?

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“You know you have found love when you can’t find your way back.” ~Robert Brault

Love is Specialized.

Love is rocket red.

Love is Dura-Ace.

Love is carbon everything; frame, fork, wheel set, ev-er-y-thing.’

Love is wind tunnel tested aerodynamics.

Love is a new saddle that my tush hasn’t gotten accustomed to yet so it’s always sore when I ride.

Love is so pretty that you don’t want to ever take your eyes off it.

Love whispers your name in your dreams and begs you to ride her.

Love is wanting to spend every waking moment riding the open road together.

Love is riding while watching the sunrise.

Love is riding into the sunset together.

Love is working in tandem to complete a goal.

Love makes you feel like you’re flying.

Love is freedom.

Love is adventure.

Love is fierce.

Love is peace.

Love is solitude.

Love is passion.

Love is cycling.

Love is life.

Love is a new bike.

I recently entered into a new relationship, not with a person but instead with my bike. We have an intense mutual understanding that cannot be found elsewhere. There is a give and take, but I cannot take more than I give. When my thoughts are at war with each other, my bike becomes my safe place. I get out on the open road and hash out just about anything with the hope and promise that peace will soon find me.

In November I decided that it was time to start bike shopping. I had an amount in mind that I was planning to spend but that got blown out of the water when I ‘fell in love at first ride.’ I toiled with the idea of spending the extra, considerable amount of money on the bike I fell in love with but I went back and forth with needing to be responsible and practical as well. I wanted so bad to close my eyes, throw shit to the wind, and dive in head first without thinking twice but I also had to act like a grown up…

Then in a stroke of odd luck, the stars aligned and for once the universe appeared to be on my side. By odd, I mean I was leaving the stability of the job that I had known for 6+ years but the change meant I would get some severance pay. Most would panic at this life change but I decided that panic had no place in my life and I would instead let life play itself out. I am a big believer in that ‘sometimes when good things fall apart, better things fall together’ (I probably killed that quote).

I made the decision to go forward and buy the bike I had fallen in love with, the beautiful fiery rocket red 2016 Specialized Venge Pro. I have not regretted this decision one bit since I brought her home.

We are still in the honeymoon phase, everything is bright and shiny and happy. I am working on learning her at the moment and trying to figure out exactly what she can do. She has a name, Princesa, which is perfect for her given her regal presence in her spot in the center of my house. She has already given me more than I could’ve hoped while helping me finish my most recent adventure, Ironman 70.3 Florida.

I am sure that we will have our differences and bad times, as most relationships do. But, I also know that with plenty of hard work and love, the relationship will grow and blossom into a thing of beauty. I look forward to countless more hours of being in her presence, to learning all her nuances, to many more adventures.

Life is an adventure and what is any adventure without true love to experience the adventure with?

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The Relationship Between Coach and Athlete

“One who goes before and shows the way. Coaches point out the sharp turns, potholes, perils, and pitfalls of the road being traveled. They steer clear of dead-end streets and unnecessary detours as they safely navigate us to our desired destinations. Whether they are leading or teaching or showing or guiding or mentoring, they are coaches. And they are indispensable in helping us find our path and purpose.” – Kevin Hall, Aspire: Discovering Your Purpose Through the Power of Words

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The relationship between my coach and I is one that means so much more than most other relationships in my life will ever mean. He holds a special place in my heart that will forever have such a deep significance that words may not adequately describe it (but I will try). I, honestly, don’t even think he knows the importance of his role in my life…

When I started cycling religiously, my life was in a very dark place and I believe I was cycling to gain meaning. I needed something to hold on to and cycling gave me an arena to feel free and happy.

I’ve known Steve for the majority of my life (his sister, Guiselle, is my best friend of 29 years) but we didn’t really socialize with each other because our only connection had really been his sister and my connection to her. From what I knew about him, he had always been athletic (running, playing basketball, and cycling) but it wasn’t really until MY journey with cycling that our friendship, and eventually him becoming my pseudo coach, began…

I knew the passion Steve had for cycling and I started reaching out to him for help with everything cycling, especially things I felt too dumb to ask other people. He answered anything I asked, despite some things probably ACTUALLY being dumb questions. He was very patient with my nonsense and began subtly giving me pointers and goals to work towards. He had become my coach inadvertently but very much on purpose at the same time.

EVERYTHING in life happens for a reason…

Early on in my cycling youth Steve crashed, and he crashed bad… He crashed, flipped his bike, landed on his back, broke the transverse process of T1, T2, and T3, and nearly shredded his Assault on Mt. Mitchell jersey. I wanted to make him feel better so I searched for the jersey online to buy him a replacement (I knew by then what an awesome feat it had been for him to ride up that mountain). Once I saw the prices of the jersey online, I retreated from that decision but declared that I would one day do Assault on Mt. Mitchell with him so that we could have the chance to get one. I’m pretty sure that my verbal filter was broken that day and that is why I even thought to utter such a ridiculous statement in the first place…

**SPOILER ALERT!! That was the moment when things started changing…

“You know the great thing, though, is that change can be so constant you don’t even feel the difference until there is one. It can be so slow that you don’t even notice that your life is better or worse, until it is. Or it can just blow you away, make you something different in an instant. It happened to me.” –from the movie Life as a House

I began riding more and more and more.

He convinced me to sign up for mountain ride after mountain ride, each harder than its predecessor finally culminating in the Assault on Mt. Mitchell (each of which I described in earlier blog posts The Journey Towards a Century Ride and The quest towards a century ride, REALIZED.).

I am not sure if he believed in me, liked having someone that faithfully gave into his torture (although I rarely did what he told me to when he told me to do it, I’m hard headed like that), or liked having someone to ride with. Whatever his reason was for helping me, this usually very quiet man took me under his wing and changed my life forever.

He gifted me cycling, and yet he gifted me so much more…

He taught me pretty much everything I know about cycling and cycling essentially save my life. Cycling gave me a purpose. Cycling gave me light and smiles again. Cycling gave me confidence. Steve pushed me and forced me to find the confident women that I had hidden for entirely too long. I am not sure if that was his intention but it was certainly what he did.

I can pinpoint moments on all the big rides I have done with him where I wanted to give up and throw in the towel and he wouldn’t let me. The weird thing is that he didn’t force me to do things or ridicule me into doing them; he just had a way about him that made me want to push just a little bit harder and NOT give up. His quiet, yet very obvious presence demanded a level of hard work from me that I am not sure I had ever doled out before. He helped me, knowingly or unknowingly, complete some of the biggest achievements of my life.

Earlier this year when I decided that I wanted to begin training for Ironman, Steve began coaching me about running. He gave me pointers on running, training, and told me what books to get. When I decided to sign up for my first half marathon in Miami, he signed up soon thereafter and, although we didn’t run together, I was able to know that somewhere on that course was my coach cheering on my finish.

His voice is a constant in my head when I am training whether it’s in the gym, in the pool, out on the bike, or out on a run. He is always there telling me what to do and the right way to do it. I am not saying that I always listen, but I certainly know how he would have me do whatever I am doing. As I mentioned before, I am a hard headed person and it often takes me a while to give in to whatever thing he wants me to do but eventually I do and I always end up with my tail between my legs admitting I was wrong and should’ve done it sooner.

I should point out here that Steve is no saintly, kind man… He can be very sarcastic, grumpy, ornery, and standoffish but the great thing about him is that once you squirm your way into his life you see past that. His way of being is what makes him unique and what made it so that he could teach me as he has done. He never spoon fed me anything and certainly never made things easy for me. But what he also did was that he never left me behind and he never gave me more than I could handle, even when I didn’t think I could handle it. He put thoughts out into the universe of what he wanted me to do knowing that eventually I would give in and do them. He saw potential that I didn’t know existed…

There will never be a way to repay the service that he has done for me so the only thing I can do is continue chasing my dreams and showing him how good I can be.

Doubt and fear enter my mind a lot when I think about the athletic feats that I want to accomplish in my life but every time “I can’t” slips into my mind, Steve saying “why can’t you” is never far behind.

This past Saturday, Steve and another friend were trying to get me to get up to go eat breakfast and we all sat there looking at my wall of race bibs and medals. Steve quietly mumbled “do you remember when there were only 2 or 3 up there? Now they don’t even fit.” I have a lot of angels that I race for and that are my constant motivation when I am out there running or cycling and, lucky for me, I have an angel right here on Earth that pushes me just as much…

On Sunday night, Steve and I were hanging out with two of our friends when they began asking us about whether we had ever “hooked up” and why we hadn’t. I tried to explain but I think that my explanation just made our friends believe me even less.

You see, we haven’t ever and we wouldn’t ever for probably a multitude of reasons. It is not to say that there hasn’t been ample opportunity for such a thing to happen, it just isn’t something that is in the cards.

We live in a society where the thought of a woman and a man being friends, especially close ones, is something that is marred by the belief that if a woman and a man are friends they must have 1. slept together in the past, 2. be sleeping with each other now, or 3. want to sleep together at some point. Lucky for everyone, I often like to go against the norms that society has created for me…

So when you hear me call him my “cycling husband,” know that I don’t mean that in the carnal sense, he is everything that is supposed to be good about a husband with none of the extra drama.

Thank you Steve for everything you have given me and all the gifts you have bestowed upon me. There is so much more that I would say but I truly can’t find the words to describe how thankful I am. No matter how many times I have read through this post, I still don’t feel like it has adequately expressed the gratitude and love that I have for everything you have done for me. You are one of the most special people in my life and, no matter how much you aggravate the hell out of me, your opinion is always one of the first that I ask for.

I look forward to crossing the finish line of Ironman Florida 70.3 on April 10, 2016, a race dedicated to you. Without your push and the faith you’ve had in me, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone

I miss my long morning rides… Terribly.

There was something about waking up and going for a long, refreshing ride in the morning that just set the tone for the remainder of the day. Even if the day turned out to be not so good, I could always fall back on the fact that it had started out amazingly.

I am a cyclist, it’s just who I am. It’s ingrained in me to want to be on my bike, all the time. Having recently bought a new bike (to be discussed in a future post) makes the fact that I can’t ride in the morning that much more difficult to wrap my mind around.

There used to be mornings where I would roll around in bed and whine and beg myself for just one more hour of sleep instead of getting up to ride. But, 9 times out of 10, I got up and went riding and would feel amazing. Now that I can’t really do it, I wish it had been 10 times out of 10 that I had gotten up to ride.

It seems cliché to say “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” but it’s the damn truth. They say that hindsight is 20/20 but I am a firm believer that sometimes foresight is too, we just choose to ignore what we know because we think we know better even when we know we don’t know better. (say that 20 times fast)

Life is often filled with crazy twists and turns, most of those twists and turns by our own creation. I just prefer my twists and turns to be out on a road… while I am on a bike…

The Hunt For My New Whip

I am a woman on a mission… It’s time for a new bike, it’s actually been time for quite a while. Unfortunately, this process is turning out to be much harder than the one I engaged in to buy a new car.

Maybe it’s because you know you’re going to spend a lot when you buy a car so you’re most likely prepared with a large down payment. Maybe it’s because cars are much easier to understand. Maybe it’s because when you find the car you like, you simply tell them what color you want and what bells and whistles to include…

Whatever the case may be, for me, this process has turned into a quite laborious one.

I decided, pre-Thanksgiving, that I would leave Miami with a new bike. The universe, on the other hand, had a different idea for me (as it quite often does). In test riding bikes, I fell in love. Like actual love… The kind where the tiny hearts float away from your head and pop in the air, your eyes get all googly, your heart flutters, and you want to devote every last minute to your new love. You know… That kinda love.

The problem? The hefty price tag.

Unfortunately, my new love was no cheap hooker… She was a high class, high price, fancy, classy escort. Maybe the kind you find out on some ranch in Vegas. A siren of sorts that whispers sweet nothings into your ear convincing you that you aren’t about to sail over a cliff to your impending death.

Her name? Specialized Venge Pro.

She is a fantastically neon orange. A full carbon aerodynamic frame. Shimano Dura-Ace components. Carbon wheel set. Lighter than a feather. A click click sound as you ride that could lull a colicky baby to sleep. A glittery, rainbowy, flying unicorn of sorts if you will.

This is when the mental wheeling and dealing begins. This is the problem with buying a car versus a bike. When I bought my car, I went in with an idea in my head with how much I wanted to spend and I did not veer away from my plan. I did the same when I set out to buy a bike but that idea quickly crumbled when I fell in love…

Love has a way of breaking the boundaries that you set for yourself and causing you to WANT to push your limit. Love truly is blind sometimes… Even to price tags.

Cycling is my passion, my one true love… I want to ride this bike into the sunset (probably because it looks like a fiery skied sunset) over and over and over again…

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So what did I do? I gave myself a reality check and decided that the girl for me was the intermediate, working her way towards that big money ranch, showgirl… Specialized Venge Elite.

Don’t get me wrong… She is a beauty in her own right with her carbon frame and Shimano 105 components but she will NEVER be the Venge Pro.

**SPOILER ALERT** This is where the universe comes in and kicks the bottom out from under me…

I got measured for size, smiling the whole time from ear to ear knowing that soon I would be united with my noble steed.

Wrong!

The words still cycle through my head in my nightmares while I sleep… “The color you want is on back order until March but this other color is only on back order until early December.”

Defeat.

I was already “settling” and leaving my love in my rearview mirror, could I settle yet again?

No.

I began a mission to call EVERY SINGLE authorized Specialized dealer in the ENTIRE state of Florida in hopes that SOMEONE may have the charcoal Venge Elite in a size 52 in stock.

Fail.

Fail. Over. And. Over. And. Over. Again.

Not one store in the ENTIRE state had the color/size combination that I was looking for, NOT ONE.

Now what? Do I go back to the drawing board? Do I I surrender to the siren and let her lead me off the cliff into the beautiful, fiery orange colored sunset?

What. Do. I. Do.

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To be continued…