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Caught in Transition

I haven’t written much lately. I haven’t done much worth writing about.

Working through this transition is proving to be more difficult than I could ever have anticipated.

Around the time that I went to Winnipeg, last month, I was starting to feel a lot better. I was finally becoming a bit more positive. My blog was going quite well, I was busy, I was walking lots and legitimately laughing and smiling again. Being in Winnipeg was great too.

I was there for a week and during my stay I had my wisdom teeth removed. On the first morning, as I stepped outside my mom’s apartment building, I couldn’t get over how bright it was outside. It took me a couple of seconds to realize that oh, it’s just sunny. I hadn’t had a perfectly sunny day like that in months, and had forgotten that the level of light was actually quite normal. It was bliss. I’m at my best on warm days spent in the sun.

I didn’t do much for the week that I was there, but I was able to enjoy doing nothing. I’m not one to enjoy downtime. I get antsy, and fidgety and stressed. I always feel the need to be doing something. But for my short visit in Winnipeg, I guess I had decided that it was like a vacation, so I could be lazy. I had just had four teeth removed, so that sort of gave me permission too.

The morning that I arrived back in Victoria, I came home to a super messy house. I was immediately stressed by it. Generally, I’m the one to do the vast majority of the tidying at my house. I’m the one who gets bothered most by messes, so I deal with it. Frustratingly, it feels as though I’m always cleaning up after others. Returning to a house that I had left clean, I was reminded of how it had silently frustrated me for ages that I was always the one to clean. I felt sad again.

Later I started to cry as I talked to my dad about it. I told him first that I was frustrated that I felt no one else was cleaning. But then, I said something that I hadn’t said before. I told him that maybe it wasn’t the fact that no one else was cleaning that was really bothering me, maybe I felt so shitty because I had stopped cycling, and had become a house maid. I felt as though my only goal most days was to clean the house. It became a fucking achievement to vacuum or do the dishes. Meanwhile, as I was priding myself in how well I had vacuumed the stairs, my team mates were sending messages to our group chat priding themselves in spending the day in a breakaway at Gila or getting on the podium in Sea Otter; real achievements.

I stopped riding two months ago because it was killing me. By taking some time off, I’d have the opportunity to do other things; things that would hopefully make me feel better about myself and help me feel happier. I could do other things that I’ve wanted to do but haven’t because of cycling. But nothing like that has happened.

I thought I could try running and training for the TC10k, and hike a lot. But after two or three weeks of running and hiking, I was exhausted. I then stopped all physical activity apart from light spins and long walks around town. I think I over trained this winter and am still recovering from it. I still feel tired now. I wake up at 7 and by 11 I want to nap.

But, I am a lot more positive now than I was two months ago when I first stepped off the bike. I now smile and laugh and can feel happy during the day. But at night I always sink. I’m rarely satisfied with how I spent my day. I’m still constantly struggling to find motivation to do something that would make me feel more content.

This past weekend my team was racing the Redlands Classic. I’ve wanted to do that race for years. While they were there, I couldn’t help but feel left out – forgotten by my team. As cyclists my age, on other teams, are getting on podiums, I am not. I feel like a failure.

Tour de Bloom also took place this weekend in Wenatchee, Washington. It’s one of my favourite races of all time. I climbed onto the pro-1/2 podium for the first time in my life at that race two years ago after pushing myself harder than I knew was possible. I crossed the line third and collapsed into a ditch immediately after the line. I was so exhausted that I forgot socks for the podium. The following year, I was in the top ten on all four stages, winning one and placing third in another, and snatching second overall. Bloom was the race that introduced me to the pro-1/2 podium, and gave me my first opportunity to stand on the top step at that level. It’s hard not being there this year.

Crappy photo from when I won the Hill Climb at Bloom last year.

Crappy photo from when I won the Hill Climb at Bloom last year.

I actually asked my director if he would be interested in sending me to race Bloom a couple of weeks ago when I was feeling pretty good. I would travel and stay with another team (as my team is away at Redlands), and I’d try racing to have fun. I’m now relieved that it didn’t work out.

This sort of up-and down, this indecisiveness and fear to commit to something or anything, is what seems to characterize my current attitude. I’ve wanted to get a new job to fill the void left by my bike. I have thought about trying to become a mountain biker (as if) and trying out for the Canada Games Team. I have thought about travelling. I have thought of going to work in Lake Louise. And I have thought about training again, or racing. But no matter what it is, I can’t find the sufficient motivation, energy, or confidence to do any of it. I even lost motivation to write for a week or so. When I do reach an eventual decision, it is often after a period of panic about needing to reach a decision. Any decision.

Part of my struggle with getting a job is that I don’t want to do something that I have no real interest in. And I’m afraid to secure a job and commit to it in case I might want to ride again. And committing to anything other than biking seems unnatural and possibly too decisive. I’ve never done anything but ride during the summer. I have never had a summer job. I have always worked during the fall and winter in order to save some money which will allow me to focus on riding in the summer.

Wanting to be active but not having the required energy has brought me down further. I’m an athlete. I feel self-conscious and down-right lame when I’m not active. It’s a vicious mindset where I now beat myself up for not doing anything, despite knowing, at some level, that I am physically and mentally unable.

So I continue to struggle. On a good note, I started going to yoga just under two weeks ago. That was a pretty big step, as it meant that I had found some energy to be at least a little active.

Today though, I have no energy. I’m extremely tired and despite the shining sun, I am back in bed.

Not an inspiring bit of writing. Dreary, I know, but it’s where I am. I want to share my journey, and in doing so I don’t want to hide the lame parts. Although it’s taking its sweet time, my life is changing.