I grew up a ranch and I will always be a cowgirl. I have lived two places in my life. Los Alamos, California (Santa Barabara County) and Redding, California (Shasta, County). I have always lived on a ranch and am very accustomed to wide open spaces. There is something about bare feet and the the open land that just reminds me of home. Being up here in the mountains this week, I have been able to be in the quiet, and to see every star glimmering in the sky. Silence reminds me of home, and the complete darkness of night reminds me of home. I may try to fit in other places, but I think I belong under the big blue sky.
Riding in the back country here gives me the same sense of freedom that I had when I was growing up exploring the great expanses of our cattle ranch on my horse. It makes me feel young, unstoppable, and completely free. Our ranch is about 35 miles west of Mt. Lassen. When I saw a sign for Mt. Lassen in 80 miles, I was so tempted to take that left turn, not look back, and head home. My dad used to tell me that riding a bike made him feel like a kid again. I don’t think I ever understood that until today. I had complete freedom, me and my bike, exploring the land. It made me a little homesick, but it also solidified where my roots are. I belong outside and I belong in Northern California and I most likely belong on a ranch, but that may have to wait. That sense of freedom and exploration is what I love about riding. The pain and the thrill of competition are merely the icing on the cake.
I guess this time in Tahoe has allowed a little nostalgia to creep in, and I am completely satisfied with that. My dad came up to watch me at the TT, and although my results were less then impressive, it was so nice to have him there. In that picture above, that was my first rodeo that I competed in. Don’t worry, I won, but it probably had nothing to do with me, but my horse, Blackie, and my supportive family. I think I knew how to ride a horse long before I ever considered riding a bike. Horseback riding is not too different from bike riding. At least you don’t have to worry about feeding your bike, but I guess you have to fuel yourself in the process.
Tour de Nez starts tomorrow, and we have four Team TIBCO ladies out to dominate. I am looking forward to it.
The time here in the mountains has been wonderful, and apparently makes me think of where I have been, where I am going, and most importantly, where I will always belong.
How about them cowgirls… I guess I will always know where I belong, and for now, it is on my bike… taking on the world, one race, one mountain pass, and one wide open space at a time…