Radio Silence

This winter I have taken way more time off the bike than anticipated.

I've been dealing with feelings of inadequacy and the worry of "Will all of my gains go down the drain?" in the same breath, I've been secretly grateful for the time off two wheels.

What do you mean?

I've been enjoying time off the bike. I haven't fallen out of love with biking, but I've needed a mental and physical break from it. I also needed time to prioritize Fearless Women of Dirt along with other projects. I needed time to recover, reset, and plan.

In general, I've had a difficult time having a 100% healthy relationship with biking and with myself. I've written about the eating disorder that I had throughout high school and years after and how I was able to reign in the behavior. Even with years of establishing a healthier relationship with food (Food=Fuel=Life), I still find a small part of myself battling obsessive tendencies. When stress is high, the desire to have an iron-clad grip on life grows stronger. I battle with releasing control, because the more I try to control, the less in control I actually am. Funny how that works!

The riding fix clings to the back of my mind, quietly whispering to me that if I'm not busting my ass on a ride EVERY DAY that my world will crash down around me. It also whispers tales of how I'll never be fast nor good. (What am I trying to prove, anyway?) Let me tell you, that inner voice you have in your head can be your best friend or your biggest enemy.

For the first time in a long while, I think I finally got that voice to shut up for a little while- or I've learned to not to listen as hard. Either way, it's progress.

My time off the bike first started with a stupid cut that I gave myself while trying to pry wax off a bottle of Surly Darkness. Due to the location, I avoided riding off-road so I wouldn't open the cut back up. That was about a week or so before our Honeymoon.
Then we were gone a week for our Honeymoon.
Then I caught a terrible cold that fully blew up a few days after coming back from our Honeymoon (right before Thanksgiving.)
For the first time in a long time, I stayed home instead of going to work. Even tho I got a little better, the cough lingered for weeks.
I had about 2 weeks of well-time before I was hit with another cold right before Christmas. That had me out for another week+ of personal misery.
Riding the trainer sounded exhausting and I had a hard time getting up in the morning because I had been getting poor sleep during my cold(s).
The weather became bitterly cold and I had a hard time convincing myself riding outside was good for me when temps were -15 and below. I didn't want to compromise my immune system.
I wasn't able to adapt to the cold temps as well as previous years since I stayed indoors.

The majority of my winter biking was commuting. That's it. I got a lot of prep work done for the 2018 riding season! Rides scheduled, Women's Nights scheduled, Mini-Maintenance Clinics scheduled, working on getting Introductory Skills sessions scheduled, FWD Membership solidified, and more. All things to be excited about, and all requiring time in which to do so. This year feels more put together than last, and I'm beyond stoked.
Fearless Women of Dirt jersey!
Click photo to order.
Another job added to the plate- playing a larger part with our local mountain bike trail organization. I can add Vice President/Secretary to my resume of "Things Josie Does" and I'm pretty stoked. DHPT: Decorah Human Powered Trails is making some excellent headway on being able to create new trails on land given to the city of Decorah. These trails are going to be made with purpose, and it will be a different feel than what we currently have. A couple main points will be a perimeter loop that is double wide, that will provide very easy dirt riding for folks new to riding off-road. It can also be used for walking/running and in the winter for fatbiking and skiing. The overall concept is to build a stacked trail system that will be NICA compliant and offer a more positive riding experience for new riders and youth. This means, in the following years, we may have an excellent area to have a Little Bellas chapter and a perfect area to go to for FWD rides since we can graduate to different trails as riding improves.

Taking on the position of DHPT Vice President/Secretary has me going full-force into updating and reviving our key points of communication, the website and the DHPT Facebook page. It's time to shine the light on a group that is going to be part of creating something extremely awesome for the Decorah community.

This doesn't mean riding is off my radar, not by a long shot! With Time Trials on the horizon I know I'll need to make a plan to get in some saddle time before too long. I would prefer to wait until I know the roads aren't slick with secret ice. I'm also extremely excited to get on the new S-Works Epic HT...a short parking lot ride on Maui brought a huge smile to my face. SO light. So nimble. Oh my gosh, I could've kept riding in circles all damn day. This season is literally going to be epic with both Epics vying for my attention and butt. Haha! I might find a renewed love for a hardtail on the trails again...we'll see.

It was glorious to feel that swell in my heart, the butterflies of anticipation, and feel the joy spread across my face in smile-form. Taking a step back and reflecting on the past months, I came to the conclusion that this break from riding was just the thing I needed. Time away from the bike isn't necessarily a bad thing if you're able to reignite your passion for riding in other ways. Fearless Women of Dirt is very important to me, and seeing it grow and become more successful excites me beyond words. Becoming more involved with the trail organization that built the trails I love is a wonderful way to give back- and becoming involved in a future trail project really excites me!

I know my fitness has not gone down to zero.
I know that not biking will not result in me gaining lots of weight.
I know that not biking will not put me back to "beginner" status per skills I've learned, etc.
It's been a necessary break and I no longer feel the need to apologize for it.
I'm ready to hit the trails as soon as conditions square away, I actually feel excited!
I'm determined to make 2018 one heck of a good year.