Sunday, October 19, 2014

Happiness Watts

Lake Tahoe.  Wow. (what's wrong with this photo?)
As bike racers, we spend the majority of the year living like monks.  Training so hard that all you can do is collapse on the couch to recover and try to function like a normal human being. Ride, eat, sleep, repeat.  Cyclists have power meters on their bikes to measure the power that they are putting into the pedals.  This power is measured in watts.  Most cyclists are absolutely obsessed with these numbers because, simply, the more watts someone has, the better.  This year, I was introduced to the amazing concept of happiness watts.  Finally, someone put into words how I tend to approach life as a professional athlete.  I strive to balance between doing my best as an athlete to reach my potential (i.e living like a monk) but to also have fun while doing it.  Years ago, we used to call this an 'average american' day.  Every once in awhile, one needs to sit on the couch and eat pizza like an average american.  Now, enter happiness watts.  It's the concept that I go faster when I'm happy so I should do things that make me happy, like eat ice cream and bacon (usually separate but maybe together includes even more happiness watts).  My coach, Andy, intuitively knows the concept well.  He even included two mandatory pastries into my training schedule on my last day in France for world cup finals.  Now that's a coach that knows the importance of happiness.

This offseason, I am really capitalizing on building up an ample supply of happiness watts. After a short stint at home in Vermont, just enough time to unpack and feel like I actually do have a home, I flew out to Santa Cruz for the Specialized Women's Brand Launch.  Specialized invited non-endemic media to introduce them to the women's brand.  This was an amazing group of ladies who I had so much fun with over the weekend.  I haven't laughed that hard or that much for awhile.  We rode mountain bikes, road bikes, and cruisers, we ate tater tots at Burger, we skipped rocks in the ocean, and generally frolicked around in cycling bliss.  I was reunited with my teammate, Kate Courtney, and my sister, Sabe, and it was as glorious as I remembered.

Then, Jojo and I headed to Colorado Springs for the USA Cycling mountain bike committee meetings.  Here, we discussed the nuts and bolts of mountain bike racing in the U.S and gave our feedback.  This was another great gathering with fantastic people.  Then, we jetted back to Santa Cruz to hop in Jojo's sprinter van to the Santa Cruz Enduro for the weekend.  We camped (so enduro), we shredded in baggie shorts (so enduro), and we conquered.  It was fun to race my first enduro and get to really experience the type of racing jojo has been doing all summer.  It's really hard and also a complete blast.  I won and Jojo came in second so the weekend couldn't have gone better.

After that, I headed up to Tahoe to check out where my sister will be stationed for the winter.  In short, it's awesome.  There are piles of single track everywhere that usually include epic climbs, descents, and views.  We've been riding a ton, and I've accidentally put in a decent training week with all these adventures.  I rode mountain bikes for a solid nine hours over the weekend alone.  I'm stocking up on happiness watts especially since Sabe figured out how to make maple marshmallows from scratch.  Anything Sabe bakes and anything with maple, yes, it's mind blowing.

How have you gotten your happiness watts lately?  Get some. They are important.


 Kate and I frolicking at the Specialized Women's Brand Launch

 Santa Cruz Sunset
 If there's one constant in Tahoe, there's always a lot of females who shred 
 Said shredding females best side 
 Sabe and I at the Specialized launch.  Ocean Spin
 Tahoe.  Lake Marlett and Lake Tahoe.
 We are roasting Sabe's maple marshmallows and taking it up a level

 The Flume Trail.  It drops off a cliff to the left down to the lake
 We rode.  Watched the sunset.  Then, rode for 45 mins in the dark.  Darkness and no lights makes things really exciting

 I love the Tahoe moss
 Amy Shreve chooses the right beverage before the Santa Cruz Enduro.  Total Domination. 
Naturally, I arm wrestled at the USA cycling meetings