Oh the year it could’ve been…

One of my first rides of 2020 with the Square1 Cycling crew

Well 2020 has been interesting, huh?

I came into the new year motivated to get back to where I was a couple of years ago.  I started piling on the miles, and riding long rides I never thought I could survive.  Back to back 65 mile days, riding with fast groups, doing stilly stuff like riding my heavy gravel bike up Rist Canyon.  By mid-March I was nearing 1000 miles ridden.  2020 race season was going to be my b*tch!

Then, well, a pandemic of a novel virus happened.

Like probably every American out there, I’ve watched as my life upended in the last few weeks.  Races cancelled, permits pulled, group rides called off.  As people battled for toilet paper, work situations became uncertain, and travel basically banned, athletes have had the struggle of what to do now.

It’s been hard, I won’t lie!  I know (as I’ve read it on social media), a good chunk of society is like “get over it, it’s just a stupid bike race.”  I think that’s trivializing the situation.  First off, nobody can tell someone else how to feel, how to grieve, how to feel loss.  Yes, are people dying, losing their jobs, etc?  Hell yeah.  But that doesn’t mean a cyclist can’t feel sad, depressed, angry, whatever about their situation.  I use cycling to even out my mental health and deal with day to day stress.  Cycling is how I connect with others, socialize, and just feel normal.  That’s all been threatened.  While the outdoors is not cancelled (yet), most group rides are.  I feel isolated from my friends, especially ones I’ve finally reconnecting after years of blowing off riding a bike, and that’s hard.  I do not spend forty hours a week with people who are cyclists, let alone athletes, so I have been living for the weekends this year.  I’m also angry at myself for blowing off 2018 and 2019, and not riding as much and in a way feel like this is some weird karmic payback for largely turning my back on cycling the last few years (yes, I know irrational.  Shush).

So what’s my plan?  I’m forging ahead, sticking with my training plan and milking every day I can ride outdoors to the fullest.  My yoga studio moved to a live stream mode.  Kate Courtney is posting up fantastic videos of her strength routines (she wants to kill me I think, or so my hamstrings tell me).  I reactivated Zwift when I want something more than the blue boxes of TrainerRoad and weather/daylight is not cooperating.  I’m watching the food consumption.  I’m plotting new routes I can ride from my house that I have never explored.

My goal “A” race for the year falls on June 6th, which is tricky.  I will be absolutely, devastatingly heartbroken if it gets cancelled, but I also know eventually racing has to be allowed again.  It’s easy to just throw the hands up and want to give up, but as I look at the crazy things I have managed to accomplish so far in 2020, I don’t want to give up the fitness I have regained.

For now… let’s remember some of the fun times of 2020.

I was in Iceland (solo!) for the dawning of 2020. Here I am ice climbing on Sólheimajökull on January 2nd.
I sold my race car in January. I owned my Spec V for just shy of fifteen years. I was on my way to a gravel ride in Fort Collins when I ran into my old car!
Always the maid of honor, never the bride in Colorado Cross Cup for single speed! Fourth year of 2nd place. But I win in bringing the shenanigans.
The Colorado Cross Cup trophy collection
The one time I attempted to race a bike in 2020, and it was cancelled. Old Man Winter had a little too much winter going on. The 50km people were not allowed to start. I was sad, as I was feeling strong and ready to fight to win the thing, and not to mention crappy conditions are my thing! But I did get to hang out with some of my favorite people, so not all was lost.
I climbed Rist Canyon for the first time in three years. It was still as awful I as remembered.
Weekend gravel group rides became my jam, and suddenly riding 50-65+ miles on gravel didn’t seem like a hard task at all!
As the days of being able to spend time with friends dwindled, I soaked up the moments with my awesome gravel group
Adventuring on my final weekend of being able to travel to Colorado for awhile to ride.

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