By the time most of you read this, I’ll be rolling mile by mile towards Annapolis, Maryland in the Race Across America (RAAM). Even I say it with a deep breath and a sigh.
This adventure began nearly a year ago, after completing the Race Across the West (RAW) as a fundraiser for San Diego VeloYouth. RAW happened unexpectedly, as a bet with Dave Preston, and after finishing I was looking for the “what next?” I was talking with Andrew Duggan, president of Equal Earth and together, we decided to take on RAAM. Equal Earth is committed to contributing to a cleaner planet through solar energy. I would ride, proudly sharing the EE vision, with Andrew and EE supporting me every mile. I have been blessed to align with a company that sees the potential in people, as well as how we can change the world.
The goal of completing RAAM is neither simple nor easy, and even racing “solo” requires a knowledgeable and dedicated crew for support and race logistics. For me, this could only mean Rob Panzera and CCSD. With the combination of Equal Earth and CCSD, two powerhouse partners, I felt confident to undertake the challenge, and RAAM moved from an idea into reality.
I had all the backing and support needed, but this is where the real story begins.
A good friend once told me the story of a coach that asked athletes to think of his or her goals, write them down, and say them out loud. That, he said, was the easy part. He was right.
People had many questions once they heard I was on the road to RAAM - good questions, smart questions, and oddly, not ones that I had asked myself. Knowing that I am a unique kind of special, I thought of this as “just pedaling”… right? Month by month, as time got closer, I went through many emotions - ups and downs and from confident to “what was I thinking???” I purposely stayed a bit ignorant, so that I could keep the mindset of this simply being a long ride – nothing more. As time moved on, I knew I needed to become more involved – ignorance was not a smart choice. (Keep in mind that for me, that’s a big step, as most of my 44 years have been run that way.)
Wonderful things have happened in this process. I put in long miles and enjoyed all of them. I have had short rides that were incredibly hard and long rides where I felt as if I could go forever. I learned many things about myself while on those training rides. Many of the best conversations I have had started from thoughts on these rides - so much so that I started taking notes while riding.
With these rides going well, I put a great deal of pressure on myself. I have been a bike racer and competitor for the greater part of my life. I am strong and have both the physical fortitude and mental stamina needed, however I learned a valuable lesson I will never forget. This is not a race of just strength, where I can simply “tough it out.” It is a race of knowledge, balance, trust and longevity.
I have a team of people I trust to share knowledge and balance. It is this combination that gives me confidence to achieve the longevity that will carry me to Annapolis.
I also realized how much the last few years of my life and the positive changes have affected more than just me. I have a wonderful circle of friends who have helped me grow and inspiration from the joyful resilience of the kids in San Diego VeloYouth. Combined with the unconditional support of Equal Earth and CCSD, I can take on anything.
And that is what I will be doing while you read this.