"No athlete is truly tested until they've stared an injury in the face and come out the other side stronger than ever."
No, I am not injured again. Well, not unless you count the numerous bruises I seem to have accumulated attempting to get better at mountain biking.
I am not injured but the last few months have felt very similar to coming back from my knee injuries a couple years ago. Anger, denial, acceptance, and finally my purely stubborn nature have all played a part in my return to training and racing, as well as Colorado. Colorado, the people I have met and the places I have been have all kept me going.
I am not sure if it is something in the water, or something in the people I have met but resiliency seems to abound here. There are the big examples like marathon runners fighting back from injury to take a personal course record, friends taking 4th in their first ever marathon, and injured veterans finding the strength to compete on the velodrome when they have not ridden a bike since they were little. These are all amazing but I also find beauty even in the small examples of resiliency that we so often pass by, like flowers growing seemingly from rocks and finding the strength to bloom when everything in nature is going against them. It wraps around me, inspiring, lifting me up and encouraging me to keep going; telling me to run one more mile, to try and climb the technical portion on the trail one more time even when my body is screaming at me to stop, go home, eat ice cream and lay on the couch. When it comes down to it I am not the injured veteran, and I am not a flower growing from rocks so where do I have room to complain, to give up?
Sometimes, it is the little things that you see.
It took a bit of a kick from a friend, but I finally bit the bullet and got back into racing. This past Tuesday was the opening night of racing at the 7-11 OTC Velodrome and I could not be happier with how it went. I finished 1st, 2nd and field finishes in the Chariot, Snowball and Points races respectively. While the race results are nice, it is the training I am most proud of. Last week I recorded 14 hours of training and this week looks like it will come in close to the same. While nowhere near the twenty hour weeks I was completing last year, it is progress. Training is finally fun again and I am having the most fun on a bike that I have had since Snake Alley last year.
Speaking of Snake Alley, the elder Palmer did well at the Memorial Day races, posting multiple podium finishes. Calling home was bittersweet because as happy as I am for his successes, I miss road trips for racing with my dad. He has been there for every major race of my career and I miss his perspective and companionship as a training partner. Riding solo gets lonely, though I am meeting more cyclists here.
Monday the roommate and I hit up territory days in Old Colorado City, kind of like the 4th street festival with MUCH better people watching opportunities. I'm talking rainbow hair and people walking around with machetes. Exploring Colorado Springs has been a blast and I've made a lot of progress on the 100 before 25 list I made back in January. On my radar for completing next? The incline, and a half marathon that I signed up for in September, as well as continuing to chip away at some of the larger goals!
I do the cooking in our apartment, which should come as no surprise. Nomnomnom.