This past weekend, my husband Marco road in the Tehachapi GranFondo event. The event is ranked as the #1 GranFondo in California and #13 in the nation. For those of you who don’t know what a GranFondo is, it’s a long-distance road cycling event. The courses at this particular one range from 18 to 104 miles. In short, it’s an event for road biking maniacs.
After suffering injuries from a car accident that prevented me from continuing to run road and obstacle course races, my husband and I took up road biking. It is an addictive, expensive and super uncomfortable sport – not for those who aren’t willing to suffer a little discomfort “down there”.
After years of chasing me around the country, waking up at the crack of dawn to see me start a race, and then standing around waiting for me to finish, Marco and I embarked on this new journey together. He instantly fell in love. Like he loves it. For me, it was something I could pull off with my injuries and still be competitive, still get the high from tackling a long distance, and still get pumped up about at an event.
The very best thing about it (and Marco may have a very different opinion on this since he is way better than me and I am pretty sure I hold him back) is that it is something we were finally doing together. Training together, riding together, racing together. Now, only Ella, my daughter, was stuck getting up at the crack of dawn and waiting around for hours (I mean hours) for us to finish. And I am ok with that as she is a preteen and pretty bratty on occasion, so it is like secret parent payback mixed in with a little inspiration – good parenting if you ask me.
Anyway, let me get to the point. Tehachapi is our favorite event of the year. It is seriously awesome. It is well organized, there are pro riders there, the course is amazing and crossing the finish line is a true experience thanks to the announcer and cheerleaders. And this year, I couldn’t do it. I just was not physically well enough to pull it off. I wasn’t even able to do the “fun” ride which is 18 miles. I was out – sidelines for me this year.
Despite being sad, resentful and at times totally pissed off that I was not able to do it, my job was to be encouraging, supportive and my husband’s #1 fan. No. Matter. How. I. Felt. This was now about being the best cheerleader I could be. Not about me – all about him. It meant:
- Making sure he had all his gear and nutrition for the ride
- Waking up suuuppper early and not being an asshole about it
- Hauling my butt to the start line with Ella – it was 45 degrees and partly dark
- Watching the hundreds of cyclists gather and keeping a smile despite feeling total bummed
- Taking 6 zillion photos of his journey and updating every stage on social media
- Driving to the rest stop to see him pull in after the 20 mile mark to help him reset
- Waiting for FIVE hours for him to finish (OMG – I have been doing this shit for years and it is NOT fun. I can’t believe how many times Marco waited for me – granted, running is usually way shorter but still….)
- Ensuring he had an easy way to get showered and fed within an hour of finishing
- Not making it about me and being an ass (did I mention not being an ass?)
So here’s the deal. Sometimes you need to be on the sidelines supporting others. Whether it is in your job, your relationship or friendship, just do it. Go out and help someone, support someone. Make someone else feel good. At the finish line, I didn’t have to work at all to be soooo pumped up and excited for him. I genuinely was! I felt so much excitement and inner happiness for his accomplishment. It is amazing how turning your attention outwards to someone else is a surefire way to get off your own pity pot and be useful. And the admission price? Your time and a positive attitude. That’s it.