“You got this!” Three words – three words that offered unexpected strength and encouragement throughout the course of a nearly 9-hour day spent in the saddle. Three words exchanged in a casual text conversation the night before my race with my coach, Julie. These words got me up endless ascents, and they rang in my head repeatedly as I battled fatigue and just wanted to stop pedaling. When a competitor was close behind, it was these three words that made me go just a little harder and cross the finish line first. Finally, these words reinforced the importance of having a coach’s support when chasing your goals.
The Park City Point to Point endurance mountain bike race has been a goal of mine managing to make it onto my racing calendar for the last two years. The race is daunting: 75 miles and over 10,500 feet of climbing on phenomenal single track winding through the ski areas of Deer Valley, Park City, and Canyons. In the beginning, it seemed impossible. How would I ever possibly be able to climb over 10,000 feet and ride a mountain bike for 75 miles? My race experience: two local events. My longest mountain bike ride: four hours. It was a crazy goal. My confidence was low.
But thankfully, a friend recommended training with Julie. It was then I realized that it was possible. I learned how to train: hill intervals, road bike workouts, strengthening exercises, long mountain bike rides, and most importantly, rest weeks. Additionally, having the support and encouragement from a coach is priceless. She made me race more and challenged me to ride outside of my comfort zone. She always believed in me, even in moments of fatigue, frustration, and worry. She made me grateful for the process. The training, the support, and the sense of success felt when crossing the finish line after each race has resulted in training with Julie for two seasons. She has helped me learn that not only can I do it, I can do it well. Not only were my goals of crossing the finish line accomplished, but the additional bonus of two first place amateur finishes in the Point to Point sweetened the success that much more.
“You got this!” Thanks to my coach for helping me believe that I actually can.