Friday, April 28, 2017

2017 USA BMX Lone Star Nationals

Last weekend, April 22nd and 23rd began with a rocky start. Peeling myself out of bed for the first of what would be two 6am wake up calls, I gathered my gear and both bikes and headed out the door for what was to be a sunshine soaked weekend or mayhem and good old fun. The door opened to darkness and gently pelting rain. Great. This necessitated quick runs to the car, each trip adding some important piece to the weekend. Crunching down the gravel driveway off the main road, I quickly found parking at the track, and proceeded to nap away for another 30 or so minutes. Ah! Heaven! Practice had started, and I took a few quick laps around on my 20” to get warmed up, then met up with my team to get ready for a day of BMX racing. The rain stopped, remaining overcast and cool. So many people were here from different countries, since the UCI World Qualifier had taken place on Friday. I had a blast hanging out with my team, and grabbed a 2nd place in both class and cruiser on Saturday, as well as Sunday, and bought some cute pink goggles from J&R. After my placings, I now have a burning desire to keep practicing. I also earned an entire sheet of stamps (pink Sidi’s in the future?)!
Well earned stamps for a job well done. Saving these babies for a future purchase :)

Overall, I learned what I can improve on, as well as what I was doing really well at. I realize enough to be very grateful and thankful for the ability to be in the position to race, since there are people who want to but can’t. I am very lucky to be able to do what I love, and I will never take that for granted. Every time I pedal my heart out on the track, it makes me so happy. The track was in such good condition, and so much fun to ride on even with the extreme headwinds pushing back as everyone rounded the second turn. Each time I got off the track my legs were burning; I guess that’s what is meant by “leaving it all on the track”, because by the very last lap of the last day, I had nothing left!

This last week has been an effort to run more and build mileage for an upcoming half marathon, sort of a mid-way goal to see if I should dare take on the entire beast one day. I found an awesome park about 5 minutes from where I am staying, and have been out there religiously. It’s absolutely beautiful, and in the evening I run determined, sore legs and ragged breathing, surrounded by fireflies. I haven’t seen this many since I was a kid visiting relatives in Ohio. It’s magical, for lack of a better word. 
The running clears my head, the sometimes monotony lets me think. The sounds of Janis Joplin and Pink Floyd filter through the tiny earbuds and into my head. It’s funny, the memories a sing can bring. Wish You Were Here comes on and suddenly I’m 19 and back at an old BMX track, it’s summertime, and leathers and a long sleeve jersey at any other place would seem like a punishment of epic proportions. That same song was playing, and I remember the track operator saying that she wanted that song at her funeral when she died. Thankfully, she is very much alive, but whenever I hear it I am back at that day, the song taking on a whole new meaning, and the sudden realization that it may mean something completely different yet equally important to her.
Everything’s been challenging this year. I got a job 2 ½ hours away from my house, so have been renting out a room with friends. It’s been tough not seeing my family and friends whenever I want to, but I work Monday – Thursday there, and go home Friday – Sunday. It’s been hard being away, and tough getting up the will to train, but I am trying my best to overcome it and make the best out of it, which I do have a lot to be thankful for. I love the people I am staying with, the folks at the track here, and my co-workers as well. I am beyond happy to be able to reconnect with my friend here, because she’s such an amazing person and I’m so glad to know her. I’m also ready to pick up the training again and see where I can go with it. I hope everyone has been having a good year so far, and at the very least a good week. So many changes come with life, that the toughest thing to do sometimes is to just roll with it. It’s going to be a good year though! I feel it! Till then, keep the rubber side down.

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