Back in the winter I headed to the Women's Weekend at Ray's Indoor Mountain Bike Park in Cleveland. I had never been there & I was so hyped to ride with other women. The biggest question I got from other female riders was "what do you ride at Posh and Catty?" There are plenty of female riders who can jump big jumps but there are also a lot of girls who are new to BMX who figured there was nothing at either trail spot for them. But that's just not true. Both spots have roller lines and varying size jumps. There's literally something for everyone. Catty Woods even has a small pump track for little kids (or really new beginners). Over the course of the weekend I heard a lot of girls say they would love to come check out the trails. Up until that point I had only ridden at Posh and Catty with maybe one or two other girls & even that was a rare occurrence. So, the idea of filling the woods with other women got me hyped on the idea of the first ever Catty & Posh Ladies Jam! I sent out some texts, threw out a date to the dudes & once everyone had agreed I started planning. This past weekend all that planning came to fruition as 30 women riders came to the first ever (first annual) Women's Weekend in the PA Woods! See you next year!
Thanks to our sponsors: S&M, FIT, Empire, T1 and Chip and Dale BMX. Thakns to Bette White & Becky Olive for sharing their photos.
My second year riding in the BikeMS City to Shore ride was also my second attempt at a century ride. This year's ride was difficult because I didn't ride my road bike much in 2017. With little saddle time in preparation for the ride, that meant I started struggling pretty quick. Again this year, we missed the century cut off (by minutes, total bummer). I was disappointed in myself but psyched I was able to raise $1,000 for MS research. The ride is an awesome experience & I would never regret doing it. My only regret is that I didn't do my best. I'm already signed up for next year's ride & will again set my goals at raising $1,000 & riding 100 miles. Please consider sponsoring my 2018 ride.
I received some news the other day that devestated me. It was end of the world kind of news, news that guts you to the core. However, the truth is. It's gut wrenching news only if you let it be. Perspective. It was the kind of news that sort of puts a fork in your road & you're forced to chose a path & one path will send you into a dark hole & the other will light a fire under your ass but it will take some work to start that fire. It's the kind of news you have to fight through so you don't fall into that dark hole but there's this little bridge laying next to the hole & you have the tools to build it, as long as you don't just lay in bed holding your dog & crying. So this, this is me trying to build that bridge so I can get the fuck over it.
A part of my new job is running groups with the clients in the women's unit. I run a few different groups each day, most of which revolve around how to basically just live life without falling the fuck apart. I work with these women to provide them with the tools to be successful in their recovery & here I am, struggling to use my own tools. I refuse to be a hyprocrite tho. I owe it to those women to walk the walk, ya know? They are doing the work. I need to, too. So, I'm picking the path that requires action & I'm maintaining my positive mental attitude & doing my best to silence that nasty voice in my head that won't stfu about how I'm "almost forty with nothing to show" for my life. Because really, that's so dramatic & sure, I don't have a lot but what I have I worked really hard for & that's cool.
2016 was rough for a lot of people, to say the least. It was an incredibley traumtic year & I worry it won't get much better anytime soon. But like most people, I am doing my best to focus on the positive & continue to work hard to be the best person I can be. It's time for us to listen & take action in ways that are meaningful while also working to maintain our mental health. 2016 had some solid moments. These are them.
I did a lot of awesome things in 2016. On New Year's Day my dude & I rode mountain bikes at High Rocks, a tradition we started the year before (that year we hiked) & continued this year. We also rode Trexler that weekend. Soon after, I got my own mountain bike. It's a Trek Antelope from 1994 that Brian dialed in for me. In early January I was a guest writer on the blog Fit & Feminist where I shared a piece I wrote about BMX. For Valentine's Day we took an impromtu trip to Pittsburgh to ride the Wheel Mill (my first time). It was overwhelming & awesome. The following weekend we drove up to New York to table the NYC Feminist Zine Fest, one of the most well-attended zine events I've ever been too. I also tabled Chicago Zine Fest in April, DC Zine Fest in July, Philly Zine Fest in August & the first ever Lehigh Valley Zine Fest in October. I was invited to be a reader in Chicago which was awesome. It was the largest crowd I've ever read to & while I think it could have been better, it had been awhile since I did a reading (I did another a few months later at the Rotunda as part of Philly Zine Fest).
I spent most of the year studying so I could finish my Psych degree & riding bikes. I was exhausted most days, emotional every day. But I did my best to surround myself with people who cared about me while ending relationships with negative & toxic people, people who saw no merit in social justice or fighting the good fight. I can't turn a blind eye to the blind eye of others, ya know? But I also don't need to be patted on back for doing basic shit like not being friends with shitty people. I did my best to spend as much time as I could with my family, my nieces, my nephew. I found out I'll be an aunt for the third time this Spring which is literally the best news ever. We took a bunch of bmx road trips including one up to Cranx for the final session before they closed (total bummer). We also went & saw a bunch of shows this year including Bleached at Johnny Brenda's which I think was probably the best show we saw this year.
In April my sister Veronica got engaged. In May I finally bought a new car, a 2003 Subaru Forester which holds so many bikes! Brian & I hiked the waterfalls at Glen Onoko in May, something that terrified me & nearly brought on the most epic panic attack I've ever had. Yet, was such an incredible day that ended with a swim in the lake & a bike ride at Nox. I celebrated six years sober on June 10th, an accomplishment I am amazed at most days. I wrote a zine called "Life Without Booze: Reflections on Six Years Sober" to celebrate. In July we drove out to Raystown Lake to camp & ride mountain bikes. It was my first time tent camping & what I learned is that nature is loud & it's not a good idea to arrive at the campsite late at night when the only spot left to pitch a tent is on a slight incline & it's too dark to do much of anything other than throw down the text & hope for the best. The riding was awesome, way beyond anything I had done up until that point & it kicked my ass. But the swim in Raystown Lake after made it totally worth it.
Somehow, I keep putting this post off. It's now May & I just don't have the energy to complete a single post about an entire year. So instead, I'm going to make a promise to myself to be more committed to writing here. Recently I did a zine reading at a local coffee shop. A friend came & brought a guy she had been hanging out with. He wrote on his Facebook what was basically a review poem about how totally uncool the zine reading was because it wasn't basically, edgy enough for him. At first I felt insulted. How dare this man dictate my art. But then I remembered there are a lot of people, mostly men who have an idea of what is art & they believe it needs to be driven by this primal desire to expel demons & express rage or whatever. I'm not there anymore. I'm not consumed by those feelings of aggression. I'm perfectly happy writing about how beautifully intense the world is & how good I feel when I'm present & experiencing everything life has to offer. So, I will try my best to document that for my own sake.