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Note From Katy - It Could Be Worse

Hey guys! Katy, here. A couple of years ago, I started riding my bike as a way to help my stress and anxiety. Earlier this year, I started to ride again when the boys went back to school, but being alone for the first time in months, and still needing to do house projects, unpack, work...often times, my rides took a backseat to the rest of my to-do list.

While on vacation in June, I was scrolling FB and saw a biking challenge to raise money and awareness for #StopSoldierSuicide. The goal was to ride 250 miles during July. I decided this was exactly what I needed. A challenge to hold my mind and body accountable, and a great cause-because I can't give up on our veteran's mental health, can I? I started the challenge riding less than 10 miles at a time. As of this week, I'm regularly riding 20+ miles multiple times a week, and I might be addicted. It really is like meditation on two wheels for me. Tomorrow morning, I'm heading out to do 30 miles, my longest ride yet.

But it hasn't been all rainbows and fairy tails. Monday I set out to do 20 miles. Five miles into my ride, I was barreling into Down's Park at a good clip. I had Beastie Boys cranked up and I was warmed up and ready to get the next 15 miles done. I turned into the park when I saw a giant deer standing right on the little boardwalk path that I needed to take. I screamed in shock. The deer stood there and kept on chewing whatever it was eating. I slammed on the breaks. The deer still stood there. It finally turned around but it was too late, I hit the boardwalk and went off the other side and landed in a sticker bush.

I pulled myself out of the sticker bush, I could tell my arm was scraped up, but I didn't know how bad it was. My chain was popped. I've never fixed a popped chain before. I was in the middle of the wooded area of the park and I was bloody, a little stunned, and my bike was broken. I wasn't sure what to do. My adrenaline was pumping and I decided I could fix the chain and keep on riding. So I did just that. I could feel stinging of scrapes all the way to my arm pit and my back, but I got 11 more miles in that day. Ultimately, I saw another family of deer that scared the crap out of me and then a snake and I decided my nerves were just plain shot and it was time to go home.

Yesterday, I got back on my bike and sang at the top of my lungs for 22 miles trying to scare any deer away from my path. It didn't work. I saw about eight deer. One fawn even ran TOWARD me like I was calling it! I know, I gave you a lot of details-are you ready for me to get to the point yet?

Last night, my husband told me he had been talking to his boss about how sore I was and how bad the scrapes were. I looked at him and said, "you know, I think I'm really lucky that I landed in the sticker bush. I'm pretty sure if the sticker bush hadn't have been there, I would have broken my arm or worse." I surprised myself with this response. See, I'm not an optimist! I don't always see the good in things. I often times need to be reminded to focus on gratitude. I think I have experienced a mind shift while riding over the last 22 days.

When I ride, I try to take a moment or two to think about why I'm riding. 22 veterans take their lives every. single. day. EVERY day. I try to think about how #blessed I am to have the ability to ride. Physically and mentally. To have childcare for my boys so I can do this. To have the support of family and friends cheering me on virtually each ride. During each ride, I take in the sights, sounds, smells around me and I feel so full of joy that I get to experience this amazing world. So keeping that all in mind, I picked myself up out of that sticker bush on Monday, I fixed the bike chain, and I kept on riding. Because I am a badass. And it could have been worse.

Hey YOU, go be a badass today too.



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