By Cheri Felix
A Sunday or so ago I woke up feeling like I’d spent the night at a fraternity and a sorority. I was so bone tired that I wouldn’t have been able to do a walk of shame. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that bad but it was bad. Every once in awhile, when the moon is just so and the tides are low and hormonal balance is just right (which is to say about every 4-5 months), I wake up feeling awful. In reality it’s not what you think; it’s not gluten or sugar or partially dehydrated oils. It’s just a weird chronic thing. But it was race day and I’m loathe to miss a race when I have the hall-pass (I have three kids) and when I’m not coaching high school kids. So almost with tears in my eyes, I loaded up the bike and sped to the Arvada sport’s complex. With no socks on and a gas tank that was ringing it’s “Your almost out of gas numb nuts” bell, off I went.
Registration closed as I signed on the waiver’s dotted line. I found socks in the recesses of my car. I found my shoes and I pretended to warm up in the 15 minutes that was remaining before it was time to line up. I could feel the nerves pushing through my legs. I had cottonmouth, again, like I’d been up all night learning the Greek alphabet in college. I went into the bathroom and drank from the sink. Pulling my creeping Amy D jersey down, I walked out into the cloud darkened skies.
No time to pre-ride. Sometimes it’s just semantics. Today the first lap would be the pre-ride. It was a fun course and as the adrenaline-zapping nerves slowly left my legs, I kept checking in with myself as I do when I race; “is this all you’ve got or is there more?” There is a voice in your head that sometimes lies to you so you have to know when to listen to it and when to put it in a harder gear. Every part of the course was lovely; the giant mud pit, the grassy and rough steep hill and the twisty turns on the grass. I really love cross. I almost didn’t make it that day. Almost listened to the general in my head that whispered “Netflix….Amazon Prime…the couch..”. I am so glad I didn’t.
Not every Saturday or Sunday will feel like the right day to race. But as the head coach for Boulder High likes to say “We’re just riding our bikes around in circles.” As grownups, how many Saturdays and Sundays do we left? How many more weekends? How many more years of being able to ride our bikes? How many more days do any of us have left? Want to race? Race. Conditions aren’t perfect? It’s okay. Because when we show up and do our best whether we have socks or a chamois or the right bar tape or the right gearing, we kind of flip off the world that’s always wanting us to be perfect. Just show up. Just race. Just ride your bike in circles.