Only 15 days until we leave for Seattle!  Time has passed so fast!

With all the planning for the Vaudeville Show and finishing the album I definitely haven’t had as much time to train as I had hoped, but I’ve still gotten some great rides in.  I’ve been doing my regular old 30 mile round trip to work at Disneyland, and have managed to squeeze in some great longer distance and hill rides here and there as well as going to the gym a few times a week, when I can.

Then, Sarah’s been totally kicking butt!  She and Dustin have been riding all over the place, and she’s getting some mega calf muscles!

A few weeks ago, Sarah, Dustin and I did a 60 mile round trip from Long Beach to Laguna Beach and back.  It was the farthest me or Sarah had ever ridden in a day!  Sarah and Dustin are super fun to ride with.  They’re both so positive, and easy going.  I’m excited for the trip, just to be able to spend so much time with them!

We stopped in Crystal Cove and checked out the beautiful view.  Every time I go to the beach, I think of the scene in Harold and Maude where they are watching the seagulls at sunset, and Maude talks about seeing extraordinary birds, even if they are just ordinary seagulls.  It’s all perspective.  It’s all about slowing down enough to appreciate the simple extraordinary beauty in the things you see or pass by every day.

We’ve also done a few rides around the Palos Verdes loop for some hill training.  Hills are hard.  Sarah and I did this ride a few weeks ago, and missed the turn for Palos Verdes East and ended up going straight through along the edge of the peninsula all the way to Gaffy Street, which was super steep and super busy!  Coming down the big hill, I hit a bump and came pretty close to flying over my handle bars.  But I handled it, we made it.  We thought the ride was pretty tough, and it totally kicked my butt, and put me in my place.

On Monday, I went on the Palos Verdes loop with Tyler, another friend who will ride with us from Portland to San Francisco.  When Sarah and I had done our ride and missed Palos Verdes East, we hadn’t realized it, but we missed the biggest hill of the ride.  Once Tyler and I started up the biggest of the hills, there were rows of switchbacks.  It just kept going.  I’m a total slow-poke up hills, but Tyler was nice enough to wait for me if he got too far ahead.  I’d come around the bend and he’d give me a big smile and a thumbs up.  I love my friends.

The biggest lesson of the day was hanging in there for the payoff.  Sometimes life throws you a steep incline, you’ve got to pedal against gravity and pull your weight up the hill.  Sometimes, you’ve got to stand up on the bike and power through it, but sometimes, the incline is just too far to stand up for so long, and you’ve got to just sit back, kick it in low gear, and chug along.  But don’t stop– even when you’re just inching along, you’ve still got some momentum, and it’s easy to forget that.  And that momentum, small as it may seem, can carry you up that hill, and once you get to the top, you’re flying, before you’ve even looked back.  There’s the payoff.

But then again, you can always stop and walk up the hill.  It’s easy to forget that, too. 
Now go, conquer some of your own hills!  I believe in you! 

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About the Author

Alyssandra Nighswonger

Alyssandra is known by her community and everyone she comes in contact with as inspirational, a dream-pusher, limitless. She has the divine craftyness to make anything she imagines a reality. This is expressed through all of her art forms; singing and songwriting, poetry, painting and performance. A local legend in Long Beach, she is a hub in her community, constantly realizing new ideas and events to gather and bond her fellow citizens.

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