To TRIPLEDIPPLE preface this: I started writing this post July 31st. It is now September 13th and I am finally dabbling away on it again. The video should be out relatively soon... To preface this: I feel like absolute sh*t. My legs are like concrete - covered with odd bumps and bruises which were sustained throughout the ride - random muscles throughout my body cramping voluntarily since I woke up. My head is pounding, I have peed a zillion times because of my water consumption and lastly I had a back spasm on the plane that sent me into tears (that was probably super awkward for the people sitting next to me); even more awkward when Adam fetched me from the airport and I was crying and he thought it was because he was late - ha! . My goal is to be asleep in 30 minutes.
On June 12th, while I was in Rochester (only enough, the same location as I was last year when I got the invite for the 2013 Gentlemen's Race) I received this e-mail:
I received an invitation from Rapha today to put together a six woman team for the Rapha Gentlemen’s Ride on July 26 in Boulder. It is going to be outrageous, epic, insane, adventurous, hard and dirty. There will be a LOT of climbing, a LOT of dirt roads and a LOT of fun. If you are interested, please let me know by Sunday evening. I have to turn in a verbal commitment to Rapha by Monday - this coming Monday!
Of course, being the little self-proclaimed endurance junkie that I am - I quickly said 'YES!' I am in. During my confirmation I did not think about altitude, or travel, or really any of the big things to take into account when committing oneself to an epic bike race. The only thing I did know was, I did it last year and I wanted to do it again...this time on an all girls team. E-mails started flying back and forth between the six-wonder women that would tackle this course. We decided on jerseys, we chatted about nails and juggled our plans for the race. This would be the first team that I would be on where I would not already know the riding level of all my teammates - rest assure, judging by our digital chit-chats I knew I was with a solid group of women, especially because Meredith Miller would be our trusted captain. As I started to pack my bike box several days before I departed for the race, I went back and forth and back and forth between my wheel choice. Ultimately, I ended up going with 303's with a 50/34 compact and 32 cassette and good ole' 28 4-Seasons. I swear by Conti - best tires on the planet! Changed my bar tape. Made sure my shoe choice was the right one...
I took a huge gamble and flew into Denver the day before we geared up and headed out on what would be a 107 mile adventure.
They say there are two ways you can tackle altitude:
Arrive the day before your race
Arrive 1-2 weeks before your race, and properly acclimate
Well, let's be real. This bb doesn't have enough time off for 1-2 weeks of acclimation. I played hardball and flew in at 11 am the day before, what can I say - I like to live on the wild side.
Okay, in all reality I was really hoping that altitude wouldn't be an issue since I grew up at essentially 10k ft. When I arrived in Denver, I bobbed and weaved through the numerous people in the airport (giggled at the line I saw a security, and knew I would have to encounter it days later - EFF!) and had to forcefully make myself NOT stop at TCBY for my favorite airport treat of white chocolate mousse soft serve with carmel on top (old ski racer soft spot). But, seriously...if you have never tried that combo, do it next time you see a TCBY - you won't be disappointed.
I met my Rapha teammate Lindsay - we quickly gossiped about our newly found amazing boyfriends, love for cycling and nail decor. We would soon meet one of teammates on Excuse Me, Ladies First as she pulled up in a gigantic Dodge ram - which reminded me of my summer with Wilson - still to this day, I have never had a summer as amazing as those few months. Mike turned me into a big truck loving, country listening little bb - and we were constantly mistaken for siblings, weird? We hopped in and quickly made introductions and got back on track to the more important gossipy things. The three-B's...bikes, boys and backgrounds.
The rest of the day went just as expected. Arrive in Boulder > Build bikes > Make adjustments > Ride Bikes. We were fortunate enough to ride with two Boulder locals, who showed us the never ending (and extremely well maintained) paths and trails that bob and weave throughout Boulder. My goodness, those alone are almost a good excuse to move there! This short jaunt on my bike made me realize how I really do love the bike people I have surrounds myself with, and how much I love pedaling. Something I would never trade...
After the ride it was serious prep time, and by prep...I mean eating and hydrating. Lindsay and I adventured off on our bikes to find a bike shop - we ended up at Elevation Cycles. The guys in there were rad - super helpful and accommodating as we entered the store like a bull in a china shop - needing things fixed, needing food, needing tires and Co2. For us carbo loading beings..Elevation is conveniently located right next to a Whole Foods - you guessed it, we totally bellied up to the food bar. I am a sucker for the hot bar mac 'n cheese.
Finding Skratch Labs was next on the agenda - so with a full stomach, a half charged cell phone and not a very keen sense of direction Siri escorted us to favorite nutrition-ites. The guys at Skratch Labs are the best, seriously. After our hellos, we quickly found ourselves elbows deep in seasoning calrose rice for 300 rice cakes that were going to be handed out to the competitors the next day. Theme of the night: MORE BRAGGS and syrup shots! Allen took the time to walk Lindsay and I through how to make the perfect cake, and what the rice should look like. Now, if were being graded on my rice mixing skills - chances are I would have gotten a D in Rice Mixing and Flavoring 101. I was far too busy sneakily-shoveling spoonfuls of maple syrup & Amino rice in my mouth - to only realize this was indeed all captured on camera. Then the bacon came out...one piece for the rice cakes, one piece for Elizabeth. One piece for the rice...
Instead of partaking in 6 reps of 45 finger pushups for the day, I opted to learn how to wrap rice cakes. Holy crap, if there was a trophy for rice cake wrapping - Allen Lim would indeed own a trophy case full of them (which he probably already does, love it!). Again, I ended up eating more than wrapping - I know what you are thinking, this girl must weight 300 lbs! Jokes were shared through out the evening, next time you need a good laugh ask me about birds - seriously. What is the bird that represents love? (hint: it is not a dove).
Lindsay and I hopped back on our bikes and enjoyed a mellow ride back to our place of dwelling. Um, hi..the sunset that night was out of control. We arrived to find our amazing host Johs in the kitchen cooking up a spaghetti storm with homemade tomato and buffalo red sauce - holla! Since Lindsay and I were such avid sous chefs that day we took on the creation of a salad...with FRESH ingredient from their garden. I have garden envy, wicked bad. We sat around enjoying pounds of pasta, wine and discussion our plans of attack for the big day. Bed was calling...the nerves started to set in...realization of what I had actually committed to flashed in my head.
I laid in bed. Staring at the ceiling. Counting sheep. Tracing the room perimeter with my eyes (my own little falling asleep trick). Nothing worked. A call from Adam settled my nerves a little. Then, it was lights out.
Early morning ahead. Everything was laid out - it reminded me of countless mornings spent prepping for -30 degree training in Crested Butte - attire laid on the floor, in the exact manner that it was supposed to be put on.
Big day ahead..
I like to think I am good at adventuring - and I used to be really good at writing everything down and sharing immediately...but...there has been a lack in that lately.
I owe you guys some 48-hour adventure updates...they are coming - trust me.
Spending some time focusing on myself right now; hoping that means that I will get back to blogging and reading on the reg (and painting my nails, organizing, laughing and all around just enjoying life).
I leave you with this...probably my FAVORITE quote on earth right now:
I Know What I Bring to the Table...
So, Trust Me When I Say - I am NOT afraid to Eat Alone.
To Everyone that Called Me Out on the Ice Bucket Challenge:
Here is an Oakley rendition of the #ALSIceBucketChallenge - thank you to everyone who came out and supported/donated to #ALS today through the Slurpee Challenge. It was a wonderful surprise - I think the world of all of you.
To put it simply, this disease sucks - so far there is no real cure. To date all the Ice Bucket Challenges have collectively raised $111.6m. That's huge!
So, maybe save yourself that $5 Starbucks or lunch run to Del Taco or Wahoos! (note to self: don't buy a bottle of wine and donate!) this week and visit www.alsa.org and make a quick donation - a little bit goes a tremendously long way.
Remember to cherish life - get off the couch and move your body. Run. Bike. Walk - don't take breathing for granted. Take time to give people hugs, and tell those close to you how much you love them. Okay, so truth be told...Adam got me with a bucket of ice the other night while exiting the shower. Win, win. I have a video too - however, it is too long for Instagram and I am crying most of the way through it. However, if you would like to see it...e-mail this lil baybay. Sending love and well wishing to all, Xx
Clarity, content and comfort are something I feel like everyone is always treasuring hunting for. When we have what we want...we always want more.
I have declared this year to be my 27 Year Old Funk - the year where I can't figure out what I want, where I want to be and what I want to do when I grow up. I know 30 years from now I will probably look back and laugh.
I am a list keeper. I am a journaler. I am a memories through photos kinda' gal. I have a timeline written out that depicts exactly where I need to be at what age. I have a list of potential locations and companies I would consider working for. I have a list of dog names, and of kid names. I have a list of places I want to visit before I leave Southern California, as well as a list of things I want to do before I leave Earth. I like to think that all of my lists are achievable...or hold the answers to this crazy thing we call life.
BUT, recently...I decided that it might be time to ditch the timeline. What will be will eventually, BE. However, in replacement of that timeline I have the most vivid picture in my head. I can close my eyes and see it so clearly. So, what is it?
There I am, in my small town - mountain or beach. I haven't gotten that granular yet.
I own a bakery, where the star piece is a linzer cookie with various fruity centers.
I have a dog and a deck that I can sit out on a drink coffee and wine.
I can see the stars at night; and experience seasons.
There is a garden that adorns my backyard.
I have a place to call home; a bed that I look forward to crawling into every night.
I have someone to love and to cherish.
I am happy and healthy.
I ride my bike.
I am surrounded by beauty - nature is plentiful.
I am smiling. Things are meaningful.
You cannot just put your wishes into the clouds and hope that they will suddenly come true. You have to share your dreams. So, Universe...let's do this.