2021 Hopes & Goals

We all wanted to think getting to 2021 would be like flipping a light switch and suddenly we could reclaim some normalcy in our lives. We liked to dream this could be true, but the reality is we have a little ways to go before we can really start to return to “normal” – whatever that is.

But we now understand how important it is for humans to plan. When you can’t plan, well…you know how THAT feels. It isn’t good. It may be futile, but I’m still going to plan. Like Eisenhower said, “Plans mean nothing, but planning is everything.”

Family Reunion

Seeing my family–my mom in particular, is long, long overdue. She’s 2000 miles away and I haven’t seen her in over a year. We are hoping with a vaccine, by May. I’m expecting a huge party.

Bike events & rides with friends

I’ve seen select friends and been on some rides but I’ve cut way, way back on social riding. Especially during heavy outbreaks. I really miss some of the organized cycling events I’ve attended in the past. The Muddy Onion, the Jam Grand Fundo, the D2R2, various grassroots mountain bike races, random group rides, and of course, cyclocross races.


I did not go far in 2020 (did anybody?). I know some people who traveled, I am not a member of that club. I canceled one trip out west and never planned a summer vacation. I’m really hoping this year is different. One friend said, “I still keep a paper calendar on the wall in the kitchen, and by now I have the whole year planned out with family trips. In 2020 I canceled them all. This year, I think I’m just going to take it a month at a time.” This feels smart and reasonable. A month at a time is an approach I will adopt. But I am hoping to travel internationally again, plus some far away domestic trip out west. Stay tuned.


I’ve committed to a 3 day, 137 mile bikpacking trip in southern Vermont this year. I’m excited and slightly apprehensive, mostly because of the climbing, and because I’ll be on a hardtail mountain bike loaded with gear. Laura is taking point on planning (like anyone could stop her) and she’s a good planner so I know we’ll be in good hands. But I’ve taken some pleasure in studying the route and visualizing what each day might bring. I know I’ll be cooked after 3 days but I’m thinking it will be a solidly positive experience and a nice feather in my cycling cap.

Cyclocross Racing 2021

2019 was my best year of cyclocross, personally. I was so excited for 2020 and to put together some things I’ve finally learned, and then the whole season went out the window. I’m thinking that even if the vaccine rollout goes poorly (oh wait, it already is), I should still be able to get innoculated by September. And then I can race! I’m hoping for at least one podium of any kind (Masters, general, kiddie race–whatever) in 2021. That’s my goal, and at 50 (51 after October), I think it’s decidedly lofty.

Something harder?

I’m toying with signing up for the Vermont 50. If I did this, it would be maybe the hardest thing I’ve ever done physically. I first learned about it 20 years ago when I was just getting into mountain biking and decided it was over my head. It still may be. But damn, could I do it? I might want to find out.

Mixing it up

I want to trail run more, and did a little last year, and I liked it (mostly). I’d like to do more hiking in general, and having a dog is helping facilitate more hiking. Also, I’m signed up as a parent skier with my son’t ski club this January, so I’ll be on the slopes this winter. I want to stay strong and balanced as an athlete, and doing different activities is good for the body and the mind.


So last year, like most of America, I sat at my computer and worked from home, and snacked. A lot. I was still super active and felt strong as hell on the bike, but I caught a glimpse of myself last September in a photo a friend took, and was slightly mortified as my waistline. I started a diet and lost 10 lbs.and felt like me again. Now I’ve found at least 5 again, but the holidays are over, and I’d like to trim down to a zone that would really make me feel better about my appearance, and should help me meet some of my other athletic goals this year. There are a few sayings I’ve begrudgingly accepted as true, like “You can’t outrun (or out bike) a bad diet,” and “The most important workout is in the kitchen.” It’s really where 80% of weight loss happens. I know this is true. I don’t like it, but it’s a fact. And like 51.3% of Americans, I believe in facts, and just because I don’t like them, believing that I’m thin does not make it true. I can’t whine ask the scale for a recount and get a different number. Truth doesn’t work that way.


More socializing is needed, and not just because I’ve had next to none all year. This pandemic brought to light that my social circle has dwindled quite a bit. Friends have moved away, I’ve lost friends by changing jobs, lost some forever to politics, and maybe I’ve been spending all my free time on a bike and not putting work into non-cycling friendships. I’d like to change that and branch out, and widen my social circle.

And now for a long term dream–Is this the year I get that little cabin in the woods? I’m working on it. Hard. We’ll see how the year plays out. I currently cannot tour anything in person and won’t pull the trigger without being able to kick the tires. I plan on doing this on my own so it’s not going to be easy but after last year have we learned nothing? Sometimes you just have to go for it.

Live well, be well, stay safe, keep wearing a mask.


2020 In Review

I haven’t posted a single thing here this year. It feels like this year was canceled, and I don’t need to point out to anyone that this has been one tough year. But is wasn’t all bad, so I think it’s worth talking about some of the highlights of a year of lowlights.

More miles than ever

I’ve wanted to break the 3,000 miles in a single year threshold for a long time, but I’ve never had the time to do it. I logged a lot of local miles this year, most of it on gravel, and I broke 3,000 sometime in late November or early December. Between going almost nowhere all year, I somehow pedaled the width of the country. I know plenty of people who surpass this number year after year. For me it’s been a goal for a long time, and thanks to the pandemic, I finally made it.

A year without racing

This year I realized how racing really structures my entire year of cycling. It gives me a focus, and something to train for. Each year I ride a bunch of fun rides, non-competitive gravel events, rides with friends, and then in August I start buckling down and getting ready for cyclocross season. Those first couple of interval workouts are always a bit of a shock to the system, as I adjust to the intensity of cyclocross racing. I admit, without doing anything hardcore or serious in terms of training, I worried about going soft (even though I did a ton more miles this year). Some people I know acted as though there was still a season to train for, and did the work. I talked to my friend Matt about it. He told me he was taking the break. His viewpoint was that ‘cross was so hard on the body, as an older athlete, he didn’t see the point on putting any unnecessary wear and tear on his body without a race schedule in the mix. I thought that made sense and I just kept enjoying exploring local roads. This year was hard enough, I didn’t need to make it harder.

Local Explorations

Riding kept me sane this year, even though I couldn’t travel and all the events I wanted to do were canceled. Even if they had been held, I wouldn’t have gone. Instead, I rode solo often and explored my local roads. I spent a lot of time examining Strava segments and routes, and creating my own adventures. I did a lot of off road and gravel riding, and constructed one route that included a river crossing. I also focused on exploring an area slightly north of me that featured a lot of gravel roads that climbed into southern Vermont. I’m still working on learning the web of gravel in that area, and it’s a treat to be relatively close to such great roads.

By midsummer, with western Massachusetts being in pretty good shape in terms of infection rates, I started riding again with a small number of people. I called it my Covidpod. These are my core cycling friends, Gail, Matt, and Laura. We have done a number of cycling trips and events over the years, and all of us except Matt were working from home (and Matt literally works in a cleanroom for his job), and we still kept distant and wore face coverings when remotely near one another. We did a few established rides from events that were canceled, like the F2G2 (Fail Foliage Gravel Grinder) in the Berkshires, the Bale Kicker in Chatham, NY, and The Farmer’s Grandmother (a variant of the Farmer’s Daughter) also launching from Chatham. We even camped out in the Berkshires, which felt so restorative for me mentally it’s hard to put into words.

Thank God for Vermont

I stayed away from overnight travel in Vermont most of the summer, until travel advisories were lifted. Even then, I was bit on edge. I went to Burlington for a couple of days, and then to Stowe for one night for my birthday in October. I didn’t ride Kingdom Trails at all in 2020. I visited Catamount in Williston for some mountain biking, hiked a bit south of Burlington, and rode Cady Hill and the Von Trapp Family trails in Stowe for my birthday. I was really stoked about the Stowe trip. Cady Hill is always great, but Von Trapp was a new ride for me, and I was blown away at how incredible it was. It was peak foliage in Vermont and the trails were flowy, techy fun, bathed in the colorful confetti of falling leaves. It was spectacular, and I am eager to return to Von Trapp to explore more of their gorgeous trails. The only downside was the sheer number of tourists in Stowe. Even if they were wearing masks (many were not), I prefer fewer people. I know–I’m just as guilty for being a tourist, but as a rule I avoid crowds, even when there isn’t a global health crisis.

So while it’s been a pretty awful year all around, once again, bikes made it all a lot easier for me. Not to say I’d describe 2020 as easy, but it would have been even worse if I didn’t have bikes to work off some of the stress and anxiety this year produced. Now there is hope that 2021 will bring a version of safety back into our lives and hopefully a return to friends, family, bike events, traveling, and racing. Until then, wear a mask, stay safe, be well.


Don’t Dream It’s Over: My 2019 Cyclocross Season

My 8th year of cx has concluded, and it’s been the best yet. 12 races this season, and I said more then once this year “wow, that was my best result ever!”

To recap, since I barely blog anymore:

Race 1-BCA Cx -Pittsfield, MA:  Top 50% finish  Great tune up race to acclimate to the torture of redlining your heart rate for 40-45 minutes at a time.

Race 2-HydraCx Holyoke, MA: Finished 4th, just off podium.  First upgrade point ever earned.


Night Weasels was more like “harsh sunsetting and then dusk weasels” but it was still fun.

Race 3-Night Weasels Shrewsbury MA: The hills of Ski Ward chewed up up legs and spit them out but this was an insanely fun race and proved important in my training.  Plus I jumped a riser in front of the announcer and got color commentary over the loudspeaker as a result.  Finished just under 50%.  This was race 1 in a 2 race weekend.

Race 4-Ghosts of Gloucester Amherst MA: On my old stomping grounds at UMASS, this course was super fun but the climb to the finish wore me out, especially after racing 12 hours prior at Night Weasels.  Doubling up over the weekend killed me physically, but the work done was money in the bank later.  Race 3 and 4 were my worst results, but probably the most important races I did this season.

Race 5-BossCross Westford, MA: 7th place, 4th in the over 40 category (just missed another podium).  This was fun and I dug deep, battling other racers I normally would be at least a minute down from. Course was woodsy and rooty.  Good fun, and I was pumped with my results.

Race 6-CheshireCx Cheshire CT: Finally returned to this race, which I had some pretty miserable results at.  Not this time.  Just outside 50% in 11th place of 20, but by far my best result at this venue ever, and a cat 3-4 race, with faster racers.  And PR’d the Cheshire Cx Wall aka Heckle Hill.

Race 7 & 8-NohoCx Northampton, MA Hometown race.  I raced hard and had fun, and was pleased with my efforts. Top 50% both days.  Felt very satisfied.

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Sprint start at Noho CX.

Race 9-KMC Cx Fest Thompson, CT Another 3-4-5 race.  These used to be so much more common, and I think it’s good to mix the 3’s and 4’s up some–gives me (a 4) something to chase.  I had a terrible start and fought to get back in the mix,  13th/21 so not top 50 but with the 3’s included, I was still happy.

Race 10-NBX GP Day 1 -East Greenwich, RI After much “I can’t believe you have never raced NBX” from friends, I finally did this one.  Sprung for a hotel room to be rested for a 8:45AM start, and lined up on the remnants of snow and ice.  My start was strong, and into the woods as the first 6 racers fell single file into the path of least resistance, I rocketed over the treacherous roots of the path not taken, and found myself sitting in 3rd place for 1/2 the race.  I slipped to 4th and was fighting to get back to 3rd, but at the end I came up just 6 seconds short.  I earned a spot on the over 40 Podium with 2nd place, and just off the main podium.  Top 25% result–first time ever. This being the last race weekend in the Vittoria Series, and a C2 race, I was pretty excited about how this played out for me.  I also earned another upgrade point.  Still no upgrade in my future, but boy it’s nice to be in the mix at last.  This race now has the title of “my best result ever.”

Race 11 & 12-Ice Weasels Medfield, MA The year end party, I raced the women’s race and the Fat Bike.  The Fat bike was more “I’m spinning out my legs on a race course and sure, I’ll stop and drink a beer and eat a donut while there is a race happening around me.”  Besides it was a good excuse to wear an ugly xmas sweater.  For the women’s race, my start was poor and my laps inconsistent, I was sitting in 10th for a while but lost 4 spots to fatigue in the 3rd lap.  Earlier in the season I would have been mad at myself, but its hard to be that way at any Weasels race.  Still a good result at 14th/36 racers.  I will call it ending on a high note.


Barriers at Ice Weasels. Photo credit: Katie Busick

The Mindshift

So this year was different, and although I’ve been getting to this place for a couple of years now, I’m inside the front door at last.  I’ve finally struck some sort of balance between training hard and having fun, being serious but not taking things so seriously.  And each race, I still get nerves.  Each race, I still swing between being cavalier and freaking out.  I train with more purpose and intent then before, but I let myself off the hook if it doesn’t work out.  And I have learned that older athletes really do benefit from rest.  I went into NBX without being on my bike AT ALL the whole week prior, so I was well rested and had good legs for that race.  I think staying in the right state of mind takes practice and work, and geez, it only took 8 YEARS to get here.  But I feel mentally happy and less angsty about racing cyclocross, and I don’t have such a chip on my shoulder anymore. That chip was placed there by me, I chose to carry it around, and I can’t say I won’t ever pick it up again,  But for now, I seem to be faster without the extra weight.

New Bike

I also think the new rig has the right get up and go for me.  The 2019 Trek Boone 5 disc brake bike is fast.  She wants to run, hard, especially after slowing down for a corner. This bike wants to accelerate out of turns and fly over the rough stuff.  It’s been a solid investment.

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Full send down the gnarly descent at NohoCX


Not to sell myself short, but I do wonder about the shifting demographics of the sport.  I noticed many of the women I raced with over the years–even the ones that upgraded, are no longer showing up.  I get it–people have other hobbies.  But when I started this, there seemed to be a lot more women racing, specifically, a lot more young women.  Perhaps those millennials, who should be in their late 20’s/early 30’s by now, are now busy pursuing careers, having families, doing those big life things that prevent them from racing bikes.  I found it interesting that the woman who won NBX both days is in her mid fifties.  I also think this is kind of awesome.  There are still plenty of young racers out there, but the mix feels more even than ever before, which is more inviting to someone like me, at the cusp of 50.

Anyway, it’s been a blast.  I’m tired and it’s time to rest.  Hopefully I can carry this good fortune into 2020, chasing another podium or two isn’t the worst way to spend your free time.


DNS – self care over bikes

I’m writing this from the snug warmth of a Sunday morning in bed, when the whole house is still asleep and a cold rain falls outside. I made the decision to not get up in the dark, rifle down food I’m not ready to eat, pack the car up, and drive the 75 miles north to Bennington, Vermont for the Wicked Creepy CX race I signed up for earlier this week.

I’m not sick, just so busy that hitting the pause button today felt like the right thing to do.

I’m having a good cyclocross season so far, arguably my best yet, posting strong results in 3 of my 5 races, even earning an upgrade point for the first time ever. But the last 2 weeks have been so crazy at work, my training has suffered, my diet has suffered, my sleep schedule has suffered. Adding 4 hours of driving and 3 hours of waiting around for a 30 minute race felt like a crazy investment of what little time is mine these days. So here I lay under a cozy quilt.

This is my 8th year racing cyclocross, and I still love it. I don’t want to stop. But as a Masters athlete I have learned that taking a rest can do more for my performance than pushing through everything that is thrown my way.

First race of season was the inaugural Hydra Cx in Holyoke, Ma where I placed one off the podium in 4th.

I’ve also learned that pushing my body at the right time yields better results. I will still do something today-something that will feel uncomfortable for a time, to stress my body similar to what racing today would have done. But I can do it on the trainer or out my back door, and spend an hour instead of 6-7 getting a good workout in. It’s not a race experience-but I can get it close.

I’ll miss Wicked Creepy Cx today. They put on a nice grassroots event and the course is fun. I’ll miss chatting with a few of my cx friends and getting cold & muddy with everyone racing today. A little rest and re-centering feels like the better call.


Abbreviated Cross

This weekend wraps my much abbreviated cyclocross season, with the eagerly anticipated Ice Weasels Cometh. Last year I had a great season, with more time to train.  This year the clavicle fracture in July sidelined me almost the entire summer, and by fall I was just trying to pedal my way back to some fitness and learn how to lift my bike again.  I was thrilled to race at all.  I hoped, unreasonably, that I might rise to the level I was last year.  The level being solidly average.  Hey I take any small victory at this point.  I had a couple good races this year and felt some progress being made, but never quite got to where I wanted to be.  After the Northampton races in early November, I knew I was pretty done.  My work schedule ramped up, available daylight ramped down, and I figured it was time to cut my losses.

So this weekend, I race cyclocross and the “Wookie” fat bike category, but Ice Weasels is more a going away party to the season than anything too serious.  The cross race has more serious leanings (but there will be hand-ups).  The fat bike race will be an all out party.  After too many 10, 11, and 12 hour work days lately, I cannot wait.

I’m already thinking of next year, after this year being somewhat stifled in terms of bike related adventure. My adventure quota needs filling. Plans are brewing, stay tuned.

Back in the saddle

I haven’t posted in a while, mainly because I’ve been riding my bike.  My clavicle break is finally healed, and I’m still working on recovering lost muscle mass/strength in my shoulder.  I’m working with a fantastic physical therapist who has taken my goals and made them hers.  And I’m doing great, riding again, even off road, and just started mountain biking again.  I’m not quite 100% where I was before the crash, but I’m progressing well.

Well enough I’m going to race tomorrow.

It’s Minuteman Cyclocross, in Lancaster, MA.  I raced this last year in the pouring rain, had a solid mid pack finish, and a hell of a lot of fun. This time I’m trying to tone down my expectations, but I admit it’s difficult.  My plan is to take in the course during pre-ride, have a good start, go hard whenever I can, and stay upright.  Keep it simple.

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Minuteman CX 2017-sopping wet and gasping for breath, I finished mid pack in a field of 58 and was thrilled about it.

If I survive the race tomorrow, I’ll turn my eye to Gloucester.  I haven’t entered yet, but am 90% sure I’ll race Sunday, and about 50% sure about Saturday.

I remain tentative because I am genuinely surprised about the amount of strength I lost from keeping my shoulder immobile for 5 weeks. The muscle loss is visually noticeable, and I was told “the asymmetry would last a while.”  But I think tomorrow will help me turn the mental corner to racing again–providing everything goes well.

Regardless of all of the cyclocross angst I have (because when have I not?), I’m so happy to be riding again, on all surfaces, on all bikes.  It’s great to be back riding!


X-Ray Results and a Divine Plan

Tuesday afternoon I got the news I wanted: the collarbone is healing well, and ligaments are stitching the shoulder separation together nicely.  Already the separation is measurably smaller.  I’ve been cleared for physical therapy immediately.  I left the office absolutely elated.

Then I went home to make my PT appointments.  Reality check–they are booked an entire month out.  What.  The.  Actual.  You know how to end that sentence.

If you are a medical professional, feel free to cringe when I tell you my very next move was to Google search “rehab protocol clavicle fracture.”  They say you have to be proactive in your own healthcare–well most of the time, we aren’t left with many choices in the matter.  So I’m DIYing it until I get an “evaluation.”  Leave me unsupervised, this is what happens.

I did get some handy tips from the PA before I learned I wouldn’t get into therapy that I have already been practicing, like finger crawls up the wall, and just trying to get some gentle movement into the joint.  Nothing weight bearing for now.   That’s ok, I can’t lift more than a coke can at this point. I definitely need the PT.

Since this was the news I had hoped for, and I’m not looking to screw it up with being stupid, but I am not willing to wait around for another whole month.  While I’m not known to be terribly religious, I’ll take one from the Lord’s playbook, and quote Luke 4:23 and “heal thyself.”  How else can I put this? To make another pious reference,  I’ll quote the Book of Elwood:

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My original timeline for getting back on the bike and back to racing is intact, and the Lord helps those who help themselves and all, so I type this from the seat of my trainer.  I should be back riding outside by Labor Day Weekend and no MTB until October.  Racing by mid October.  I’ll miss cyclocross in September but still have October and November, that should be plenty.

What I can tell you, is the healing power of the human body absolutely boggles my mind.  It really is a miracle. That is some divinely elegant design.

More X-rays at the end of September as a final sign off to my health and onto new bike adventures.  I cannot wait.


Clavicle Fracture Update: the 5 Week Mark

I didn’t know a bruise could last 5 weeks, but I still have one from my epic DH MTB Crash and subsequent collarbone bust-up (in at least 3 places, no less).  But things are slowly getting better and I figured I’d check in about it.

Last week, at 4 weeks post crash, I went on vacation as it was planned many months in advance. That delayed my 4 week check up to next week. Fortunately cycling wasn’t on the itinerary for vacation, but the sea kayaking in Puget Sound was out. I went west in a sling, and came home without one, because I just couldn’t take wearing it anymore.  It was hurting more to wear it than not to.  Actually–that went back and forth a little.  Let me explain:  when you don’t move an entire part of your body for a month, muscles start doing weird stuff.  Like spasming.  That wasn’t in the brochure.  I tried massaging the affected areas-biceps, triceps, trapezoids, etc. but at the end of the day–i just wanted to move. But not TOO much. And what is more important here is what was NOT hurting–and that was my shoulder.  The only thing uncomfortable were the supporting muscles around the shoulder–and those were, at times, pretty painful. So for the week–I kind of went back and forth between hurting when I was wearing the sling, to hurting because I was not wearing the sling. I was walking a ton and hiking a bunch too (in Olympic and Mt Rainier National Parks in Washington State).  There was definitely a correlation between my overall body movement and my discomfort. Flying all day in a sling to get across the country–horrible.  I just wanted that sling off. Hiking 6 miles in The Olympics wearing a sling? That felt just fine. If I walked or hiked too much without the sling, well–that hurt too.  It was a balancing act.

My range of motion is no where near 100%.  Probably 30-40%? That’s my best guess anyway.  I’m not pushing that part too hard but I’ve noticed that it is improving with just normal daily activity.  Yesterday I drove for the first time in a month, and that was so nice to have some freedom back.

The big day is this Tuesday, when I finally go back to the Orthopedic practice for feedback on how I’m healing.  My hope is they say “everything is going great, you can start PT next week.”  Fingers crossed for that.  It feels great to start doing more for myself.  I can put a t-shirt on now!  I can drive short distances! But I know I’m not fully healed yet (lifting more than a coke can is impossible and I cannot raise my arm past my chest). Regardless, I’m moving forward as if I’m going to get good news Tuesday.  I have done a few trainer rides now and it has felt so good to spin on the bike, even if its on my back porch.

Good thoughts for Tuesday–wish me and my shoulder luck!


Bike Accident Recovery Update: Day 15

It’s been a solid 2 weeks since my crash and I’m healing.  Slowly.  I won’t lie, it feels like watching paint dry.

I went back to work last Wednesday, and I was so happy to focus on something else besides what was on TV, or the book that I’m trying to get through, or all the rides my friends are taking that I am unable to participate in.  But at the end of the day on Friday, I was really hurting, and felt like maybe I’d undone some progress. My shoulder was aggravated and I had random spikes of pain, and my rib ached with each breath–something that had really improved in the last couple of days.

In terms of what’s happening inside my body, I found this pretty cool video of how bone heals.

With 2 weeks into healing, I should have a lovely soft callous formed, with bridges built to join the broken bones together.  Next step, very simply put, new bone will be interwoven into a hard callous. So I’m between stage 2 and 3, and getting fully to 3 is probably at least 2 or 3 more weeks away.  See the stages nicely illustrated below.

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By mid August, I should be into the 4th Stage, bone remodeling.  This is where things get really firmed up.

I had my walk Saturday morning, and my rib was hurting…..the pain level just a click below “let’s not have a walk today.”  I pushed on, and by the end of 3.5 miles, my rib actually felt better.  I spent the rest of yesterday (Saturday) doing relatively little, and being quiet and still.  Now it’s Sunday morning and I feel back on track.  But with a 5 day work week ahead of me, I’m thinking about the ways I might change up my workstation so I don’t push my shoulder into a subtle position that feels innocuous at first, but cumulatively feels awful.  I don’t want to undo any progress made.

My goal is to be back on a bike by September 1.  I feel this is a reasonable expectation. Of course, all my expectations and plans could be redirected after my checkup on August 14th, where x-rays could determine surgery is needed.  But if it’s not, and my healing is going well, I hope to start riding on flat smooth surfaces–taking it easy as everything firms up.  That’s the textbook 8 weeks from injury.  I expect to take another 4 weeks before tackling rougher surfaces, and another 4 weeks before attempting cyclocross racing.  I know a good crash could set me back tremendously, but I haven’t crashed all year until this mishap.  Cross racing means crashing and falling.  I’ve done the math, it’s highly probable.  So I’ll want to be 100% sure I’m out of the woods before racing.  I’m not afraid to fall, I’m not afraid to crash.  I’ve crashed so many times over 17 years and this is the worst injury I’ve had, I’d say that overall–I’m doing alright.

Smaller efforts: I’m taking a calcium/bone health supplement daily and consuming as much dairy as my lactose intolerant body can take (thank God for Lactaid).  I’m eating healthy. I ‘m taking my walks daily, and this week I hope to start pedaling on a stationary bike.  I expect to hate it, but beggars cannot be choosers.  And something is better than nothing.  I’m living through everyone else’s adventures online.  It helps me cope with being on the sidelines.  I’m happy for others who enjoy the pleasure of cycling in it’s many forms.  Savor it!  And be safe out there.



Nature Baths: Get Outside to Get Right

I use cycling to manage stress and to bring me into a state of overall contentment and happiness.  With my injuries and that now temporarily on hold, I’m left feeling antsy and angsty, which does not make me a dream companion, a good mom, a good employee, or a good friend.

A friend in the cycling community reached out and suggested Nature Baths to calm my spirit.  She had an injury that derailed her summer in 2017 and knew exactly what I was going through.  I had started taking walks immediately after the accident to give my energy a place to go, but how much woods time was I getting?  Some, but not as much as my riding had been feeding me.

So I took this piece of advice and seriously considered what a nature bath meant.  I started taking walks in slightly wilder places.  Off sidestreets and sidewalks and onto paths and trails, even if for a short time.  The break from the noise of the world was truly calming and restorative.  When I was on streets and sidewalks, I’d focus on the birds or butterflies that floated by, or the way the breeze would gently stir the leaves on the trees, or the wildflowers that grew up on the margins of property lines.

And this simple break–it works.  Yesterday I only had a short walk close to home and my mood took a beating.  I was grouchy, sad, having a pity party and ready to argue with anyone who talked to me.  Today, I went out for a 3 mile walk along the slow end of the bike trail and feel relaxed, open, with more positive and creative thoughts.

So–if your feeling down or stressed or grouchy–try a walk in the woods.  It’s free and it works!