Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Reve lives on

Dreams - everyone has them, I know I do! Some are impossible, some attainable, some I don't even consider, just make excuses and create my own obstacles. It's what other people do, achieving their dreams. Not me. The Reve Tour was one such dream. Seemed impossible. I followed the Super Six obsessively, reading daily Twitter posts and Heidi's updates on Peloton. Talked about it to friends during rides. Commented with other people following along on Twitter using the hashtag #revetour, and I continue corresponding with some of them even 2 months later. Now, our conversations have evolved to other things - cyclocross, epic mountain bike rides, travel. But I won't forget that it was the Reve Tour that connected us in the first place. Dreams don't die once they are achieved. I believe they have lasting effects on people. I'm inspired by others who do what I cannot ever imagine attempting to do myself. I think it's only fair that I should give credit where it's due. It's been a tough year for me, but I realize that compared to others and their challenges, it's not a big deal. Still, I have struggled with motivation and a frustrating injury. Resorted to chocolate and gelato as my mood enhancers when it should have been resistance workouts and challenging rides. My gym membership went unutilized. (is that a word? I think so.) Dealt with family stress, financial challenges, job issues. After July, I began running out of excuses. Sure, time is short, and the years are piling up, but I can't let age be a factor. People way older than me do amazing things like run marathons and complete triathlons. Why don't I do these things? One major factor: my mind creates resistance. You can't do that. You don't have the time, the energy, the strength, the toughness, the courage, the confidence. So, my challenges and goals are different - smaller, more realistic. Forcing myself to go out on a solo ride when I have a chest cold. It's all relative. Sure, it's not riding the Tourmalet with bronchitis, but it's all I've got today. Determination and desire to improve my health. I'm not a competitor. My competition is with the inner doubters, the voices that question my sanity, that tell me lying on the couch with a cat on my lap is easier, more comfortable, safer, better. No. I want more. Because of Heidi, Jennifer, Kate, Kristen, Kym, and Maria - the minimum is no longer good enough. And they should know that what they've accomplished will have a lasting effect on people's lives. I tell people who aren't cycling-obsessed like I am about the Reve Tour. They seem impressed, but I don't think they really get it. I don't think they appreciate how monumentally difficult the men's race is, let alone what six non-professional athletic women attempted and finished, despite challenges ranging from crashes to mechanical issues to illness. Deprived of sleep and proper nutrition, but fueled by sponsors and supporters, they did it. They navigated their way across France, finding a way to open that suitcase of courage every day in order to get the job done. This fact continues to amaze me, and yet makes anything I do on a daily basis seem small and insignificant. But it's not fair to compare, it accomplishes nothing - it's all relative. Our own personal struggles are just that - our own. What the Reve Tour has done is to make me aware of what mine consist of, and become willing to stand up to them and challenge them. Defy them. I may not do amazing things, achieve impossible insurmountable goals. But I realize there are some people who will never even ride a bike - at all, ever. Thank you, Super Six Pack.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

I have a blog? Oh.

I think blogs are great - I read lots of them all the time, though none as regularly as I used to. Now I get my news on Twitter, and have lists for pro cycling and follow people whose interests are compatible with mine. I follow news outlets, publications like Velonews, Peloton, and others, as well as a ton of pro cyclists and people who follow pro cycling. I follow local cycling people, frame builders, ride organizers, all kinds of people who are involved with cycling in one form or another.

The funny thing is, my sister (probably my entire family) thinks I'm obsessed with cycling, and they say it like it's a bad thing. It's like being called a bitch in a good way, as in "wow, you're an assertive/gutsy bitch"! So, call a spade a spade, yeah cycling is obsessive. People who ride get it. They know how you're never done buying things - this sport isn't just a "sport", it's a lifestyle. Even though I drive a car far more than I ride a bike for transportation, most of my friends I know through cycling. Just about everything relates to cycling in some way and cycling relates to life. It's simple. If people don't get it, well, that's okay. Just don't criticize me for it, because I'm not alone.

I don't just watch the Tour de France, I watch bike racing any time it's on TV or online. I'm not a blogger or journalist, it's just the sport I most enjoy following. Some people like baseball or football, and so do I, but I don't follow it like I follow cycling. I don't need to justify it, I just do it.

This year has been really interesting. Some of my favorites were injured early in the season (Fabian Cancellara) and was left out of the Spring classics following the Tour of Flanders. This year's Tour will be different and possibly some contenders will be surprises, not just the expected repeat by Cadel Evans (though I'm totally on the Cadel train), or the win by on-form Brit Bradley Wiggins of Team Sky. Then Andy Schleck was literally blown away (off his bike) during the time trial in the Dauphine' and ended up with a fractured pelvis. Talk about bad timing. Prior to that announcement, we here in Oregon were frustrated by our local favorite Chris Horner being left off the Radio Shack Nissan Trek Tour team. But once Andy Schleck announced he couldn't race in the Tour, we found out Horner was indeed on the list.

But some of my favorites aren't going this year, because it's an Olympic year, or some other reason they were left off their team rosters: Tom Boonen, Thor Hushovd, Ted King. There are enough to make it interesting, especially in the sprints - Cavendish, Greipel, Sagan, Farrar. So, I'm excited to watch. I need to get familiar with the stages.

One thing that won't be televised is the Reve Tour. Six amazing athletic women are going to attempt (and hopefully succeed) riding the entire TDF route one day before the men. They are just regular cyclists, one pro triathlete, one fitness instructor, one dental hygenist, one journalist, one bike shop owner, and one who works for the cycling nonprofit that will benefit from the Reve Tour, Bikes Belong. I've been following their journey, watching the interviews, reading the articles written by Swift. Imagining what it must be like to have that big of a challenge ahead, that many logistical, nutritional, physical and mental challenges ahead. But it'll be amazing.