Keep Your Eye on the Horizon

I looked down at my phone, reading the email that I figured I would get but had hoped I wouldn't. "Thank you for applying, unfortunately you were not selected this time around."

"Of course."

I felt like my stomach had developed a small pit, probably the size of an avocado. It sat inside my gut feeling like a 5 lb. weight. 

I closed out my email on my phone and continued my morning errands.

I had two choices- feel sorry for myself or move forward. I opted for the latter as it was the only one to make sense. Over 3,000 women applied for a national women's ambassador program. That's beautiful and impressive- it means that there are a lot of badass women out there doing remarkable things. It also means that a person from small-town Iowa is probably going to have an extremely small chance of pushing herself thru the cracks and being accepted into said program.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." 
-Winston Churchill

This year I will be able to put all of my full focus on growing Fearless Women of Dirt as organically as possible and without pressure other than the pressure I put on myself. Fearless Women of Dirt will grow because of my determination, passion, and drive for cultivating a rich off-road cycling community in Decorah and beyond.
Rides and FWD Women's Nights at the shop will be on my time frame and schedule. I will not have to worry about having the "right" number of events or rides for the calendar year. This is a particularly busy year for me- it will be good to know that what I set up for my schedule of events now will work for what I was hoping to do this year vs. having to try and add more to make myself qualify.

I can take full credit and responsibility for the success of FWD and see it grow because of local support, not specifically because of the backing of a larger company when it would be better to have the bike companies represented at our local bike shop both be equally supportive of FWD and what FWD is all about- thus making it more inclusive and less biased. 

To me, Fearless is not the absence of fear. It's not being completely unafraid. To me, Fearless is having fears. Fearless is having doubts. Lots of them. To me, Fearless is living in spite of those things that scare you to death.” 
― Taylor Swift

Not long ago it was brought to my attention that someone wasn't fond of my using the term "Fearless" in my women's group name as she did not find herself to be that word. "Why not use a different word, such as courageous or brave?"
Fearless is a synonym of courageous and brave- they all mean roughly the same thing, just a slightly different spin. Fearless is something I aspire to be and is not necessarily a word that defines who I am- I still struggle with fears on the trail. Take last night, for example- I had a pretty good crash on one of my favorite trails and tweaked my ankle pretty bad. I had fear while I was falling, I had fear during the fall as I crash landed backwards and sideways into shrubbery and thorns. I had fear as I felt pain radiate in my foot and ankle. I was shaken. I was afraid- what if I had broken something? What would I do? I had to get down the trail somehow.

I picked myself up carefully, assessing my situation. I felt like throwing up. I took a deep breath and put weight on my foot. It was okay, I knew not perfect- but not broken. 
My bike was intact, nothing was damaged.
I was jittery but okay. I could keep going and I could move forward past my fears and embarrassment.
Fearless Women of Dirt move FWD (Forward)
Our bikes move us forward on the trail and in life.
As you progress with off-road riding, your initial fears lesson and your confidence grows.
An experience can scare the crap out of you, but if you can do what you can to continue growth and moving forward- in time you will feel less fearful.

"Attitude is a little thing that can make a big difference." -Winston Churchill

I'm looking forward to this year and what it will bring for the future and growth of Fearless Women of Dirt and my own self. I feel that this group is an important piece of the Decorah cycling community that I am so thrilled to be part of. 

Mountain biking has changed my life. It has made me take things head on with new perspective on what I think I can accomplish versus what I can accomplish. I've found myself continually surprised and it is my mission to help other women find that same excitement, confidence, and inspiration. 
"Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be."
- George A. Sheehan