Cycling: A Love Story

As a single mom, I struggle to fit everything I need to do into a day. I generally land in bad an hour later than planned with a mental inventory running of all the things I haven’t gotten done yet. So, adding cycling into my life was daunting, and often feels as if it is the final ball thrown into my juggling act that will make it all fall to the ground. My house often goes uncleaned on Saturday mornings as I rush out the door for a “quick” ride. When I return, drenched in sweat 2 hours later, and see the unwashed pile of dishes, and tell myself I will tackle them right after I shower. But as always, when I emerge from the shower, Hailey is impatiently ready to go do all the things we need to get done for her that day, the things that sat on the back burner as I rode up Dallas Divide. Before I know it, day has turned to night, the laundry is still sitting defiantly unfolded in the corner, and I tell myself “Tomorrow.”

Tomorrow always begins with the best of intentions, until I see the sun shining over the mountains, and I’m off, back on the bike, for a “quick ride”, this time for real. 2 hours later, I again return sweaty and exhilarated, and chug a glass of Skratch. I sit, legs shaking, in my front room and I realize my floors remain unvacuumed, and now I have ten minutes until I am expected to be at my family/friend/work function I had forgotten about until I rode back into cell service to the multiple texts about the event, and sprinted down the last hill while wondering if I really need to shower or whether I have overall lowered my friends expectations enough that I can show up post-ride without any major judgement.  Luckily for me, I live in a mountain town where hygiene standards are pretty low, so I generally pull this off. Hats have definitely become my friend. And as the weekend comes to an end, I see all that remained undone in my home, spend 2 minutes doing the math of how late I can manage to stay up cleaning and still be able to work in the morning.

During the work week, it is a huge challenge for me to ride. Luckily, the company I work for is supportive, and allows a good amount of flexibility. But often the workload is just too much to take an hour away from. As the season has shifted from summer to fall to winter, and the temperatures have dropped and the daylight diminished, I have found less and less time to get out and ride. I supplement with spin when I can, and I am happy to have a great studio in town, but that in itself becomes a juggling act as I try to make work and parenting work around the class schedules. This weekend marked the real start of winter, as we received a decent amount of snow this weekend with another storm circling around us as we speak. As I built a fire this morning, I looking longingly at Zelda propped up against my wall, and had to admit that it may be months until I can ride her (other than on a trainer). I have to admit, a little tear came to my eye.

I suppose I could be relieved that with the end of cross season and the arrival of snow, that I have lessened my crazy juggling by one. But instead I find myself scrolling through my Facebook and Twitter feeds, looking at training camp photos from Spain and Australia, green with envy. I spend evenings reading every winter training article I can find, perusing eBay for decently priced biking gear that can withstand the cold and snow that will surround me for the next few months. I try to console myself with the promise of numerous days on the slopes of Telluride, attempt to convince myself that a few powder runs on my board and I will be able to walk past Zelda without a second glance. All efforts have been completely futile. I have skied since I was 4, snowboarded since 14, and while I enjoy both, neither has ever instilled in my such a strong, almost manic, passion.

All who know me will tell you I am no romantic, I am unsentimental and cynical, sometimes to a fault. But I love cycling. I love my bikes. I love the feel of descending down a road with the crisp Colorado air whipping across my face. I sometimes want to scream this from the top of my lungs as I reach the end of a steep ascent. I am the girl who actually has pictures of myself smiling during a cross race. I am unabashedly admitting my complete head over heels adoration of biking.  It is always going to be a tough, sometimes seemingly impossible, juggling act to keep cycling as a part of my life, but it is one that I am willing to make the effort for.




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