I have gone through the doors of pain. I have pushed through a season of sadness, of hurt, of being dropped, of disappointment, of defeat after defeat after defeat and I have arrived to another state of mind. I have entered into the room of hope, of power, of muscles moving, of legs remembering, of me this moment now, transcending all of the before.
This is what winter training is for me. I am a new person. This often happens in my life, where I arrive again, but I feel it here with bicycling.
I have found a winter training facility that I love and I go there and I practice. I don’t just practice cadence and going at least 90; I practice my breath; I practice calmness; I practice strength. My muscles are beginning to remember what it means to go fast, to dig deep into the well that is inside me and to pull from it the essence of myself: optimism.
I know I can do this. I can train hard. When I am on that bike at the training facility, I am not only in that room, I am in those moments. I am kinetic energy. I am there happening. My mind is clear and focused. I see the television and I see the bike riders in France and I am there occupying my body. I have trained three times this week and I hope to continue at least this much throughout these cold winter months.
This morning I trained at my teammate’s house and I got to be around my team; I felt energized and inspired. I felt ready. We are all in this together at all levels. I didn’t know if I would be invited back on the team again this year, but I was, amazingly.
I realize on the bike that I am creating my story and I am the narrator of my story. This is a story of getting up at 7 am on a Sunday to go ride on a trainer in a basement and sweat through my hat and my shirt and my pants and to feel the muscles in my body burn. This is the story of connection: of mind to muscle. This is me on a bike. This is me redefining thirty. This is me one pedal stroke at a time. This is me training for something bigger than myself. This is a story of triumph.