It takes a village...
I wrote a blog on May 15th saying I wasn't going to have any expectations about the 2015 Campagnolo GFNY. My one expectation was to get on the bridge and start. I did that! And then there was something called a DNF.
As an athlete, coach and teacher one of the first things I try to instill in clients/students is a true and lasting respect for your body. We make incredible demands on our beautiful biomechanical machines, in daily life, exercise and certainly when we participate in endurance sports. When I teach yoga (and when I coach, I just use different non-sanskrit verbage) two key concepts are Ahimsa/Non-harm and Satya/Truth telling. This is why I had to abandon the race on Sunday.
I did everything right the day and night before. Maybe a little too much Facebook before bed, but otherwise nothing new. I felt fine in the car. I felt fine on the bridge. I ate on the bridge. Again, nothing new. No new foods, no new drinks...so all should have gone according to plan. Except it didn't. Exertion on the even small bumps through the park brought me to the point of nausea. That was something I've never experienced on the bike before. And it continued. Each time I drank, I felt worse. All I could think was, "Crap, if I can't eat...or drink...I can't fuel...if I can't fuel, I can't ride." I waited. It subsided on 9W but I had to seriously consider if it was worth it. Did I want to test (and possibly tax) my digestive system? Which could lead to taxing my entire system? I know myself and what I did know was this: If I chose to go over Hook Mountain I was in for the whole thing. No matter what. That is how I work. If I was going to abandon, I had to decide by Nyack.
The tape than ran through my head from the right turn out of Alpine turn onto 9W was ... HowdoIfeel?WhatshouldIdo?WhatifIdon'tfinish?Shit.HowdoIfeel?Ifeelbad.Reallybad.Shit.I'mnotgoingtodothistoday.Shit.WaitIcandothis?No.Bereal.Youneedtostop.It'soneday.Oneday.Let.It.Go.
I let it go. I stopped in Piermont to see my friend Ann and announced to her that I wasn't continuing because somehow telling her made it okay. I rode to Nyack with Melanie and Myra. I saw Steve and Devon waiting just beyond the turn on North Broadway at Fourth Avenue. I pulled over and folded into Steve's arms and said, "I can't. I'm done. ls it okay?" He held me and said "Yes. Of course it's okay."
Here is the village part. The first part started with my husband and my son who gave me permission to listen to my body. And then my two friends Bruce and Louis. I posted later on Facebook that I didn't finish. That was hard. Really hard. I'm a leader, if I don't finish, does that mean I'm no longer a good leader? I don't know! Crap! What the hell does it mean? We didn't make it to the finish line as planned, traffic...parking...driving from Nyack...ugh. So I sat on the porch and didn't look at Facebook until I did. And then what followed was one of the most genuinely wonderful and supportive experiences I have ever had.
I've been a ride leader for four years for GFNY, as Head of Group Rides I get to email, chat and meet everyone on the rides over the course of six months. I have never even thought about the flipside of the support coin. The responses that were posted threw light on the relationship that I have only seen from one side. I was moved to tears.
I quote Eric Goldstein, a friend, a fellow coach, the person who I rode my first GFNY with, "Measure your success through the achievements of all those you helped, led and inspired. You won this on the bridge..." Wow. I did win it on the bridge. Thanks Eric. Thank you Uli and Lidia. Thank you Vito, Wade, Omar, Jared, James, and Hayden (in abstensia). Thank you C-group cyclists! Thank you KillerB's! Thank you CrazyA's! Seeing your finishing photos and victories make the day. The jersey originally said "La corsa la fanno i corridori" which translates to "The riders make the ride". Everyone who participates in Gran Fondo New York makes the race. So...in short...with a bigass smile, thanks. You guys are my cycling village.