Wednesday, September 14, 2016

2016 race season wrap-up

I recently wrapped up my 2016 mountain bike race season.  This one was special for so many reasons.

It started with a trip to Chile for the 6-day TransAndes stage race.  This happened to coincide with with the 5-year anniversary of my original breast cancer diagnosis.  I have already written about this trip so I won't repeat myself, but Chile was quite the memorable experience.  I hope to duplicate the adventure many times in new (to us) countries!

After Chile, I didn't miss a beat and pushed through 8 more months of racing.  Total stats for the season were approximately 800 miles of mountain bike racing in ~80 hours!  4 wins and lots of podium finishes.  While the season results were great, I am most proud and pleased that my body held up beautifully.  I did not succumb to a single illness or injury all season....not even a cold.  I am grateful for good coaching and nutritional support.  I am most grateful for a body that has been poisoned by chemicals, radiation, and surgeries, yet keeps bouncing back.   I love this resilient body of mine!

It would be misleading to say that nothing has changed with my body from cancer treatment.  I have had two rounds of chemo (2011, 2013), radiation, and countless surgeries.  I need to take lymphedema precautions and some body parts don't work the same.  I was also forced into surgical menopause at the tender age of 38 which comes with its own set of challenges.  I continue to take a cancer medication that depletes my body of estrogen and thins my bones.  However I have not been good at just accepting the new normal.  I strive to defy it and push my body to be its old self.  

While I don't like to give unsolicited advice to others, here are a few mantras I find useful for myself:  

Never give up.  Never give in.  
Be kind to my myself. 
Winning lies in trying more than results. 
No excuses.
Find peace and happiness in what I do everyday.  

My short off season will be full of beautiful Fall mountain bike rides, skills practice, hiking and trail running with Dizzy, weight workouts to balance out the imbalances from the repetitive action of riding/racing my bike for thousands of miles this year, stretching, and after a long season of training a welcome lack of structure.  

Spending time with my BDF during the off season

Here are some memorable photos from the season:

 On the start line of the Park City Point to Point  
My final race of the season
75 miles, 10,000+ feet of elevation gain.  8.5 hours race time. 

 Crossing the finish line at the Park City Point to Point in 6th place Pro Women

 Shannon and Me after Pierre's Hole 100k in Grand Targhee, Idaho
 On my way to the win at the Wasatch Back 50.  Jordanelle in the background
Top step of the podium for me and my Pivot Mach429SL at the Wasatch Back 50