This was 6 am yesterday at the start of the Butte 100 mountain bike race, and that smile on my face lasted all day. I've spent the last 6 months and maybe even 4 years training for this event between hard lessons in hydrating and fueling to hours of non stop riding and intervals. I had more fun at this race than any I've done in the last 6 years. Even the flat I had at mile 63 didn't bring me down. Ken Smith wins the Mr. Congeniality award for spending 30 minutes of his own race helping me. At 12.5 hours and mile 85 I sprinted harder than I ever had to try and meet the cutoff time at the last aid station. I was channeling my inner Tara Wilson pedaling descents and hammering climbs picturing bumpers on the trails to keep me upright. I arrived at the last aid station at mile 90 only three minutes after the cutoff and wasn't allowed to continue. Disappointed? Not for a minute. My training and race prep were spot on, and I felt fantastic the entire day, even when they pulled me. I met so many wonderful people and smiled and laughed. I'll be practicing changing flat tires on the trails, so make sure to heckle me when you see me out there. As they say, it's about the journey. And my journey yesterday reminded me why I love my bike and I love racing. A year ago I wanted to sell all my bikes. Now, I know that sometimes something you love so much can bring you immense pain and you can choose to learn from it or move on. This last year has been grueling as I peeled back the layers that led me to hating my bike. And none of it was due to my bike. It was me. And I've learned to be kinder to myself and face some demons that have been with me a long time and yesterday was a beautiful confirmation of a lot of hard work. Sometimes success isn't a win or a medal or a podium or even crossing a finish line. I personally feel like I won my own inner race. And in the end, isn't that what we're all doing?
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