Dang 2018 blew by, huh? After reflecting a bit on this year’s performances, I would say I am ‘content’ - but who is happy with just being content. I'm not ungrateful by any means, but I am always striving to better myself. This year, more than ever, I realized that having top notch results are cool and all, but the most satisfying part of my cycling career is the journey. The journey of pushing yourself mentally and physically. I don’t mean that you have to do anything extreme, but maybe just testing yourself mentally a little more each day, week or month. Stepping outside of that comfortable routine you are used to doing day in and day out. Personally, I know I feel better both mentally and physically when I push myself just a bit further than I did the day before - as intimidating as it may be at times.
Before this year’s 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo, I really focused on being mentally present and savoring the moments during each training ride or life experience. It's super hard at times to stay focused on that, but I think recognizing it is the first step in making progress. When I said results are cool and all, I really don't mean to down play things, but that's the honest truth. A result is ultimately a personal goal you set out to accomplish for yourself, and maybe for those who selflessly support you. But at the end of the day, what really stands out is how far you are willing to go to put yourself in the position to earn that result.
2018 had two major events that I was focused on being in peak physical form for – 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo and 24 Hour Worlds. After working with my coach (Lynda Wallenfels) and sport psychologist (Kristin Keim) I learned to ‘trust the process’. What that means for me is being able to focus on a day-to-day routine instead of becoming overwhelmed with the ‘bigger picture’ of training for six straight months. Trusting the process ultimately relieved stress and allowed me to be present and give each day of training 100% of my focus. I learned what it meant to be appreciative of the journey and I am seriously thankful for that but I still have a boat load of work to do on that side of things which I find exciting. In doing so, I achieved the results I had dreamed about at those 2 events. It is honestly a bit mind blowing when I reflect on the journey I took to get to those points, rather than simply the outcome. The result is just a single part of my journey, but the race really begins on day one of training.
Coming in to 2019, I will become a better athlete by opening up my awareness even more than I did last year. Awareness of the adventure I am on, and the progress I make each day. I will do my best to be present in times of defeat, while also cherishing the special moments with my village of support. The 2019 season kicks off in just a few days (woah, January) and my mind and body will be put to the test right away. Over the past month, I have been coming out of my ‘off-season’ (which deserves a blog post of its own). I have had a few struggles with that, but l plan to take that as a learning experience and an opportunity to be mentally stronger than the day before.
For 2019, I encourage you to do the same. Step out of your comfort zone a little and focus on making any form of progress – be sure to still push the hell out of yourself, but don't rush it. Be consistent, be present, be patient, and be thankful.
Bring on 2019!