Journey to OP

I know this post is a bit out of order since I haven’t finished my Singletrack 6 write up (part 2 is unwritten) but screw it - getting your thoughts on paper is what blogging is all about right?

As many people in the mountain bike community know, 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo registration has come and gone for 2018, and has sold out in record time. Crazy stuff to see the entire race sell out in under 8 hours (including teams and solos) and to know this race is ever-growing in popularity year after year - this is a special event. This event is actually what introduced me to endurance mountain bike racing, so it has an ultra special place in my heart.

As an AZ native, February has always meant perfect riding conditions and also that the infamous OP was coming soon. For those who don’t know, the past couple years at this race have brought quite a lot of disappointment to me as an athlete - I have experienced everything from stomach problems to crashes to surgeries and many other issues that have brought my race to abrupt end. To be honest though, I am thankful for those failures and disappointments because they have taught me how to persevere and reminds me that a DNF doesn’t define my worth as an athlete.

It seems silly to put so much heart into bicycle racing, but this particular race seems so much more for us. When I say “us”, I mean the whole team of people that support me - including Mary, family, friends and sponsors. This event is at the top of my personal “to do list" - my ultimate goal is to go out there and prove to myself that I am not crazy for attempting this race time and time again. And honestly, my placing in the race isn’t even my main focus. What I care most about is finishing what I have started.

I remember reading a quote last year that really stuck with me. I came upon it when I was pretty down in the shitter after getting knee surgery in January and had to make the call on not racing OP 2017.

 “Patience. Remember, life is a journey, if you got everything you wanted all at once there’d be no point in living. Enjoy the ride, and in the end you’ll see these setbacks as giant leaps forward, only you couldn’t see the bigger picture in the moment. Remain calm, all is within reach; all you have to do is show up everyday, stay true to your path and you will surely find the treasure you seek.”
- Jackson Kiddard

This is more than a bicycle race to me. It’s a lesson in determination and trusting the process. It’s taught me patience and to accept disappointment with open arms, but not as a definition of my value as a person or athlete. From now until February I will do the best I can with preparation and training, but whatever the outcome or “result” is at the race, I will be stoked on the journey.