I’m off. And, then I’m on.


IMG_1417I am trying. I am riding. I am waking up and putting on my shorts and my jersey and my hat and I am driving and I am meeting up with my team and I am on the road and I am feeling good and I am in farmland and it smells like cows and there’s sunlight on hay and the roads are beautiful and I am loving this fifty degree weather and I am. I am. I am.

And, then I am not.

I am at the front of the pace line and I am pushing too much and it’s too much for my legs and I flick my right elbow and I drift back, but I drift back too much and I am gone. I am a foot, then feet, then four bikes, then ten bikes, then I see my team ahead and my mind is on fire and I want to quit and go home and do what I am actually good at which is studying.

F. this.

And then, my team notices and they pull back and I’m on a wheel and it’s hard and it’s still hard and then I fall off again.

Double F. this. Give me an espresso. Give me a book. I’ll kick it at writing a poem, at reading in front of people, in writing by myself, in anything to do with computers. Not this. My body hurts. I need a bloody beer.

And then my team stops and they wait by the side of a barn and it’s red and kind of cheerful and I see my captain and she says, “We’ve all been there.” And, my teammate tells me what I did wrong and how to correct it and we’re a team and I’m with it and I’m failing and I’m writing about failing and maybe I am never going to be good at this and maybe I’m the worst one out of everyone in this entire racing community and maybe I should just stop because who the hell cares about bicycling.

And, then I’m back on. We’re off and I follow my teammate who is strong and consistent and smart and she’s a coach and she’s coaching me and it’s not condescending, it’s awesome and I feel good and she says, “Do you trust me?” and I say, “Yes” and I’m so close to her wheel, closer than I’ve ever been to another person’s bike while riding sixteen miles per hour and she’s talking to me and she’s telling me how to breathe and I’m thinking, “Oh my gosh, this is amazing. I’ve never thought about sports like this.” I’m communicating with her and I’m yelling, “I’m off” and she slows and then I yell, “I’m on” and we’re back and this is incredible.

This is training this morning.

Yesterday was a race. Yesterday was a time trial. Yesterday was pure enjoyment after being so nervous I threw up. I was scared before and I was slow during. I wanted to quit, but I was racing. And, I was beat by every single person out there. Every single person. Yes. Me. It’s true. And you know what? I feel great because it’s about progress. It’s about what I am now and what I’ll become. It’s about learning. It’s about growth. It’s about getting better. It’s not fixed mindset. It’s growth mindset. It’s now compared to last year. It’s now compared to what I’ll be in ten years. Every single person at that time trial beat my time and I left that race as happy as a clam.

I got in my car and turned on Del the Funky Homosapien and the music flooded my ears and I drank some good, cold water and I could still feel the way the wind felt through my hair on that course and the way the racers looked on the side of the road, racing, racing, racing, against each other, against themselves and I realized I had done it. I had actually done it.

And, I am whole.



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