Wow….all I know is that 2020 has been a year of weird scenarios and unknown successes. I started out the year of gravel events having the best day on a bike that I could possibly imagine at the Mid South. Mud everywhere and I was grinning ear to ear. Then it all started to unravel.
For me this has been a year of self introspection and looking at what matters at the end of the day. This is not only in cycling but also in my personal and professional life. During all of that self evaluation I found the following:
1. Its ok to be confused.
- One day my children are going to school full time and love being a senior and junior. The next week we are home schooling them and fighting on a daily basis to get anything turned in. It was confusing to them, me and the teachers. We could talk about it at home, and did, but it was still an unknown that no one had answers to. Heck, we are in year two and I’m still struggling with being the home school location and what we do for lunches everyday.
- Riding the MidSouth I had an entire year planned out for gravel events….and some pretty exciting ones at that. The following month I watched those plans disappear one by one. Each time a race cancelled, although I knew it was for the best, it was another chink in my armor and frankly I was confused where to go from here.
2. It’s ok to be have to find new motivation and maybe no motivation.
- I spent the month of April training hard. We still had events in the fall and I wanted to be ready. As the spring turned into summer it became apparent that those events were not going to happen either. My motivation sank…..like a sinking ship. Why do hill repeats when there is no reason to train. I did events like a 4x4x48 of David Goggins and bike packing. These were the motivators that kept me going.
- Anyone that knows us also knows that our family is active. There are lots of weekends that find us at sporting events and bike events. I found this year that I wasn’t the only one lacking in motivation. My youngest is a runner and he too was on the struggle bus to train. As someone who completely understood that feeling I found the strength to say….”it’s ok to do something different”. What a change that made!
3. It’s ok to know to say I don’t know.
- One of the hardest things I have found as a parent is the expectation that I “know” what is right. If they had only sent them home with a manual it would have certainly helped! This year I learned to say “I don’t know”. Once I got to that point, and reached out to others, I found that I was not alone. Once again, finding out that others had the same struggles was enlightening to me. I’m not alone, I just need to ask for help.
4. It’s ok to ask for help.
- Whether we want to talk about it or not we are all in time that we don’t understand everything going on in our worlds. It’s ok….neither does anyone else, including the most powerful leaders in our world. We are all in this fight together. Asking for help is one of the best ways to make friends and help out friends you already have. Be kind and smile…..there is no better feeling than helping someone out or knowing that you are not alone.
- In the biking world I learned that my social activities at events were gone. I miss my gravel family…..I miss the social side of riding. I learned to ask other ladies and cyclists on social media how to do things. Once a day I picked up the phone and called an old friend or someone with a question…..how do I do this? Never once did I not hang up smiling. Just ask……
5. It’s ok to be proud of yourself and it’s also ok to just want to sit in a corner by yourself.
- Training this year was a shit show…..let’s be honest. It was TOUGH and it was not motivation it was dedication. Motivation left in March, COVID 19 poundage happened in April and May and then dedication picked up in June.
- There were days every month that I wanted to sit in a corner and do nothing…still are actually but it is better now. I learned to forgive myself for those days and just let it be. I can’t change the world, the only person I can change is me so do that Crystal. Be the change that you want in your community!
- Watching events that I love go away like a poof of smoke was hard! Literally one by one they were picked off my schedule in Training Peaks, crossed off the calendars and other commitments made. It was maddening and heart breaking all at the same time.
- There were also days in the moth that I was proud of myself! HELL YEA! And I gave myself permission on those days to say “Self we did good today!” Finding the balance between the two until I could tip the scales toward the positive most of the time was my greatest accomplishment this year.
6. It’s ok to try new things….you might really love them.
- Bike packing has become my new love! It’s new to me, or relatively so. This year I was lucky enough to introduce two friends to it also. And they loved it! Try new things….you might find it was just what the doctor ordered!
- I found that I loved bike packing so much that one of my goals for 2021 is to ride the Wild West Route from Canada to Mexico…now that is motivation to go train. Score!
- I tried running this year….so not all things are a success. LOL I tried it, embraced it and said this is great exercise and I have admiration for those that do it…but it’s not relaxing to me. That was ok!
7. It’s ok to get mad.
- Huh?….yep. I told myself this year it’s ok to be mad. It’s ok to think that things should go differently and sulk for a moment. The key words are a moment. It’s not ok to be mean and say things to others. On the days I was mad at the world I rode my bike….and I rode Norm (my bike) until I got it out of my system. There were hills I could literally feel the anger, confusion and the world melt away. Maybe I was mad and maybe I just needed the release that exercise gives all of us. Maybe I was anxious….I don’t know but I do know that I needed to say that feeling is ok and now let’s go figure it out on your bike.
8. It’s ok to know that we don’t all agree on the same things.
- Don’t go there….I’m not. But in all sincerity, it’s ok to not agree with everyone. As adults we have the ability to look at the world through multiple lens and figure out what works for us. Just because we don’t agree doesn’t make you wrong and me right or vice versa. You know what everyone says about opinions…..they are just that. As adults our perspective may change based on experiences we have had. It may also change as we mature in our relationships…that’s the ultimate goal! Be respectful and in the words of my friend and coach Chris….”Be a decent human“. We need more decent humans in our world.
Why write all of this down? I think sometimes I need to hear that others have struggles also. You are not alone my friends….we are all in this together.
I can remember the first time I heard a cyclist that I admired breathing hard at the top of a hill…..seriously you get winded also was my thought?! We are all in this together…..it’s ok to stand alone and find what works for you, but at the end of the day….it’s more than ok to call one another up and say “HI, how was your day” and end the call with “I love you.”