I flew from Austin to Solvang California today for a week of cycling camp. This is a complete and total luxury that I am treating myself to. I am taking an entire week off from work and all I have to do is train like a professional cyclist in a spectacularly beautiful location. Sometimes when I stop and think about how lucky I am, I can't really believe that I am this lucky.
I have moments of sadness wishing that I had someone to share all of this with. I have moments of feeling almost guilty that I get to experience the beauty and joy of being here with the only purpose of riding my bike. Solvang is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been with its lush green, its colorful flowers, mountains, valleys, farms, vineyards, stunning views in every direction, and friendly biking roads. The town itself is quaint like a small village in Denmark.
The biking looks like it is going to be tough. I am going in with a naiveity about exactly what elevation changes we will be covering and what the routes are for each day. Do I really need to know or can ignorance be bliss until the moments when my quads are screaming for relief? I am only thinking about tomorrow, and only in enough detail so that I know roughly how much nutrition I need to put in my bottles. I don't want to overthink or worry about any one day. I have done hard rides before and I can do this. I plan to give it my best effort at all times and I will only judge myself based on knowing if I gave it 100%. I am not concerned with my skills relative to other riders because I am at where I am at right now and this week is about me getting stronger and learning about being a cyclist. This may be easier said than done, but I intend to make it an important mental practice this week.
Tonight I had dinner with the other campers and got a chance to meet everyone briefly. I think I do come in with the advantage that I have been riding outside a lot recently. Some people here have bikes and wheelsets that cost more than my total net worth including my car, bike, and all of my savings. If I were a white male in my 40's maybe I would have that too, but even though it can be a bit intimidating I think I am doing ok for a 30 year old single woman. I feel very lucky just to have the chance to be here.