Sunday, August 12, 2012

All I can say is Carpe Diem people...there is no other choice!

I have had quite the year of resetting myself as "bike racer". It had been 3 1/2 years since I pinned on a number. How in the heck did that much time pass?! Anyway, TEAM HELENS has been pretty much a blessing for me. I received a team invite just at a time when I needed something to connect to, females to connect with, and an outlet to help me deal with some seemingly inconceivable life challenges. So along came a "call" from a now dear friend, Suzanne Sonye. She had heard through the grapevine that I wanted to race again and asked me to join her team for the 2012 season. In true Suzanne fashion, she didn't really give me a choice, she pretty much said..."you're joining our team!" It was quite a shock and quite an honor. There are so many other women out there that would have been able to commit to the whole season....but she chose me even though I had a work commitment that wouldn't allow me to fully commit until May. I worked hard to stay on top of what I could do when not traveling so that I could be ready when the time came. Then, after my Dad passed away the focus toward my bike became all that more important -- I found myself getting more and more driven to pedal. The team needed me and I needed me. I started to think OK I can do this. I CAN be a bike racer again. Gaining some fitness and building focus were making me happy again. I knew this was right. So I kept going...going to the hills, going to my threshold, going to the races and going to the finish line. Setting goals and seeing them through has been a HUGE part of healing for me and I started to feel as if this was all a gift, it was a blessing, a way for me to find my focus at a time when life seemed so unfair and so confusing. And speaking of goals and blessings....out of the blue I got another "call" from another great friend, Kristin Sanders. She reached out to me and asked of I would be interested in being her teammate at an event in Austria. My mind was overwhelmed. Did she say "AUSTRIA"?! How could I be so privileged to get this sort of invite on top of already being part of something so great here at home. I was completely blown away. As it unfolded I learned that we are to race for Stradalli Bikes and represent them at a Master's Worlds Championship event in beautiful St. Johann Triol! What an opportunity. What a privilege. It took me awhile to believe that I am deserving of all of this. I mean how in the heck can I go from being embedded in the woodwork as "has been bike racer" to suddenly racing with one of the best regional teams in the U.S. as well as planning a trip abroad to race a championship event for a great sponsor?! Needless to say, I have been training hard, wanting to make sure that not only do I race well, but also that I ensure everyone is and will be happy and satisfied with their choice to have me on their team. Today is the last official team race of the season for Team Helen's. We will surely throw down and then celebrate as we have come together this season as racers and friends and have enjoyed much success both on and off the bike. We raced last week and dialed in our race plan to claim a 1-2 punch at our State Championship race. That was definitely one of our highlights and it was great to have our sponsor there cheering us on! Hopefully today's race will be icing on the cake. And then... in less than two weeks time I will land in Austria with TEAM STRADALLI for an opportunity of a lifetime. I am so excited to get there and to race with them. The bike I am racing is a flat black beauty called The Palermo. I couldn't be more thankful for the team support to get there and race, and I'm really look forward to making them proud! Needless to say, I am feeling beyond blessed to have gotten these phone calls to become part of two amazing teams. It doesn't get more special than that and now looking at it all a bit more closely I can say that I think those two fateful calls were more or less like a "Calling" for that I had to answer because the phone was ringing LOUD! ~ I am beyond GRATEFUL.

Friday, July 27, 2012

And now he is my guiding light....

Well now... so let me get on with a little back up information on this last year I've had. It's been a rough one for my family and loved ones. My Dad passed away just four months ago. I still feel like it's a dream. It all started in January 2011, when he spent his birthday in the hospital after having a stroke. Albeit a so called mild stroke, it was a shocker to us all. However, he bounced back like a trooper. Then along came April and another one hit. He and my Mom spent my Mother's birthday in the hospital. This time things were much worse. The stroke really did a number on his motor skills and thinking power. My Dad had to relearn so many things. What an amazing person he was during this time (and my Mother too, who practically never left his side!). Through it all, my Dad became the rockstar of the rehab facility where he spent two long weeks. My parents, together, were seen with great admiration, as they remained a TEAM through every step and every challenge. Without getting into too much detail, they made it through with flying colors and my folks went home with hope and determination. Sometimes though, even all the best efforts and intentions, all the love, all the prayers and all the positive energy in the world still isn't enough. My Dad began to have more problems. It seemed like it was one thing after another. One misdiagnosis after another. A scramble to get to doctors here and there. And wow, I must say, my folks were taking it in stride and making the most of each challenge. But you can bet they were getting tired of it all....especially my Dad. You see.... my Dad, he was dying. He didn't have the energy to fight like he used to. The energy we were all used to. The energy that made us The Lyons Family. It was so confusing and heartbreaking to witness all of this. My parents were always so strong and always made it through the tough cards that life dealt. Feeling helpless really sucked. There were good days and there were bad. Then the bad days started coming more often. The doctor's couldn't make him better, nor could we. My Dad, in his infinite wisdom, must have known his time was near, because suddenly my folks got the bug to travel and we were all able to spend quality time together as a complete family. Time that not everyone gets to have when a loved one is close to dying, time that we will cherish forever. It's hard to say what my Dad was so intuitive about. He had been having some mystery health problems ever since he had suffered the strokes. A mass on his lung had been spotted. He had started radiation therapy. But it was not meant to be that he would get well. And just a few short months after their trip west, My Dad spent his very last conscious moment in the best place ever, he was at home with my Mom --the love of his life. I can only imagine that for my Dad and my Mom those moments must have felt like being wide awake in a bad dream. The worst dream ever. I remember hearing my Mom's voice when the plane landed that fateful Sunday. I had been working in Seattle. Time stood still as I listened. Our family was changed forever. All of us kids (and my Dad's closest friends and relatives) made a mad dash for home. We were all so shocked, so sad, and feeling the most unbearable pain in our hearts, but we knew ....we just knew it was his time to let go. He was finally better. He was now a true free spirit. Gone was all the suffering.'s been such a long year. Finding light and staying positive has been the main goal for each and every day. And even though I hadn't planned on it, the bicycle has become the light. Riding and racing are like therapy to me. I think any avid cyclist feels this way and I have always said the same. But now I am devoted to pedaling for reasons that go well beyond fitness and stress relief. Truth be known, my Dad is the reason I became any type of athlete at all. I'm old enough that it took a Dad like mine to make sure that his daughter didn't miss out and was allowed to "play on the boys team" at at time when the girl's teams just didn't exist. He gave me wings to believe in myself as an athlete. He bought me my first road bike in the early eighties after I told him I didn't want to race BMX like my brothers. I will never forget how cool I thought I was when I put a "Moto Fox" sticker on that bike. Who would have guessed that it would take nearly twenty years before I ever realized my potential as a cyclist. I have so much to be grateful for. I have had opportunities of a lifetime. I have met people that have changed my life direction. I have met my best friends. I have learned to appreciate life so much more, simply because I ride. How is that possible? It's just a bike, right? I sure don't get it, but I don't really question it either. All I know is that my letter begins like this, "Dear Bicycle, I need you now more than ever...."

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

We shall call this inning a New Beginning.

And so the number 43 begins. Let's hope this round is better than 42! I cannot even begin to explain the year I have had, all I can say is that the smile on my face is real and I am happy about what is coming my way....more soon! ~
Me and my son Myles celebrating my birthday together :)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Lost my composure ......

Today I lost a friend -- Jeff Kargola. ~ RIP OX
Walked into a nice restaurant here in Atlanta International to have good glass of wine and burger. As I sat here contemplating my father's life after stroke, I got a call from Micky telling me that our good friend had an accident in Mexico and didn't survive. I promptly had a second glass of wine...just for OX (of course this glass was mixed with tears).

Not a good day at all.

Ox, I pledge to remember your smile, your positive attitude and most of all, the good feeling you created in others just by being around. Thank you.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

totally Worth It.

I am of the mindset that personal health ranks right up there with financial stability.
But I am also one who likes change and diversity....meaning, I love my bike but honestly, cycling has burned me out a bit. It just cannot be my end all be all avenue for exercise. So...instead of grunt and groan and be miserable about burnout, I did my research and found something new! I just joined the world of "boot campers" !!! Haha no kidding. I started a new training regimen with a couple of great coaches here in Anaheim. Now I am finally rediscovering my personal love of fitness and am feeling a bit like a kid again!

I feel like a quack saying this but I was getting lost inside myself without new opportunities and outlets to make me happy....and thanks to these guys I am finding a whole new level.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

not so sudden realizations....

--parenting from 500 miles away is not the best plan.
---exercise really does make a difference.
-sleep is essential.
-i am in love.
--- i am not scared to get old, but i am scared to become old.
-there are plenty of adventures that absolutely must blend in with daily chores.
----shedding unnecessary people is a bit like shedding unnecessary weight.
-saving pennies is still worth the effort.
--absolutely nothing compares to the bicycle.
--i miss blogging.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Learning something new :)

Forty is the new Twenty ;-)