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 me...one that I had to answer because the phone was ringing LOUD! ~ I am beyond GRATEFUL.