This morning, while sitting in traffic, I found myself thinking back to camp. I realized a couple of days ago that stress of camp was not just physical, but mental as well… I’d started experiencing some anxiety while riding- a combination of not wanting to let myself, my teammates, and Nathan down. By the end of the week, during the last ride, while my teammates & I were being pushed to our limit, he told me (loudly), “Come on, Andrea, I know you’re stronger than that!” In my head, something clicked, and I realized that the pain of riding like that was something that I’m good at, I actually enjoy (most of the time!), and that I am “getting paid for.”Ã‚ So, for some reason, everything instantly felt better.Ã‚ I might be a little too old to achieve the glory that some of my teammates have ahead of them, but I’m going to turn myself inside out to help them get it.
Even with this realization, the mental stress from earlier in the week followed me home. The first few nights, I had nightmares about riding my bike and not being able to go fast enough. I realized that I was experiencing a mild case of post-traumatic stress! It’s something I would never have recognized if I hadn’t felt a much, much worse version of it following my trip to NYC on 9/11. I was working with a dog trainer at the time, and we made the trip up to do recovery work (a.k.a. find the dead people/parts of dead people). I had the same feelings of doubt, guilt, anxiety, nightmares, etc. soon after returning home (though exponentially worse and including flashbacks/panic attacks).
So yesterday I rode my bike for the first time since camp. I felt great, especially because my buddy Megan came along:
We had a fun, windy ride. Surprisingly enough, I didn’t have any nightmares last night! I’m ready to train my ass off now, and I’m looking forward to riding harder than I ever have in upcoming races:
Southern Cross on Jan 24th in Mulberry Gap, GA (gravel road, endurance-style CX w/a daunting climb in the middle).
Valley of the Sun Stage Race Feb 13-15th
San Dimas Stage Race- looks to be in March, but I can’t find an official date