Trusting the Universe during this Comedy of Errors epoch.

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The past month has been an extremely hectic one for me. I have been hopping on and off airplanes every weekend for the past four weeks. Why am I subjecting myself to such "delicious" ( ahem) "USAirways Meal-in-a-box meals" and "Air-in-a-can" surroundings so often? I must be a masochist, you conclude. Well, I have been traveling to Puerto Rico in an attempt to compete in a series of qualifiying events. These qualifying races could, hopefully, garner me a spot (one of four open slots) on the Puerto Rico National Road team. The goal for me this year is to qualify and honorably represent my isand at the 2010 Centro American Games in July (Mayaguez, PR).

On more than one occassion, dates for events have moved, so, for me that has meant: trying to prepare for a series of "A" events in which the target is always moving -- VERY difficult to sustain a peak when the date is subject to change at the very last minute...this has happened more times than i care to count -- begining way back in January of this year ( so, six months and counting....). Additionally, as in any sport, politics sometimes trump sound judgement or facts; in this respect, I have had to rely on my Ambassadors back home (Chago and Jaime) to do the lobbying on my behalf....In many cases, I have beleived that deals were "good and done", only to discover: "not so much...". It's almost as if  my resolve has been tested and tried almost on a weekly basis with obstacles being put in my way and me forging ahead regardless...almost like the Universe whispering:" cassi, do you really want this? how about now when I put this obstacle in your way?" and my reply, to date, has been " yes, I want this! I'm overcoming this no matter what!"

but, this testing and re-testing of my resolve CAN get a bit...um... tiring.... 

The racing is always fast in PR, as the Elite women are always thrown in with some men's field in order to compete. This makes the race interesting in a number of ways: I have no teammates, but others in the field do (both male and female), and mens and womens categories are allowed to work together. I've learned to be attentive and alert at all times, always scoping out like jerseys in the peloton, be they on a femaie or male competitor... The suffocating heat and humidity has also been a huge force to contend with: while it's hot here in Philly, the last two races in PR has temperatures in the high 90's to 100 about mid-way. I've learned to begin pre-hydrating about 2 to 3 days before an event to try and mitigate the effects of the heat during intense competition. I've learned to respect everyone, and not take anything for granted. My attitude is always: I'm racing to win, but  races are a series of unpredictable events...and I've learned to plan, but to be ready for the unexpected.

I have met  many competitors that are worthy of respect, women who race hard and are happy that I am there to race with them. Unfortunately, there is a strange culture of bike racing that has taken hold there as well: perhaps it's the isolation, or the small numbers in the fields; I have witnessed some negative racing which surprised me a bit (I have experienced it here stateside, but very infrequently), but which I have attributed to the still-semi-isolated status of the sport among women there. Fields are small, and teamwork is not something many of the athletes are either famiiar with or comfortable with: the prevailing attitude, even among riders of like-jerseys is a bit self-centric. However, there are women competitors who immediately gained my respect, for their behavior on/off the bike has been just   classy. I have been lucky in this respect. My circle of friends and acquaintances has expanded, and each one of these individuals have given me something of true human value thati cherish.

Finally, although my racing, traveling, work schedule has been grueling up until this weekend, the folks who are taking me to and from races at dawn, who make sure i have  cold water bottles at the feed zone, who bring BBQ grills and tons of food for after the race, these people I cannot thank enough (Chago and Jaime, i'm talkin 'bout you here): seriously, without their support, none of this happens.

 I am a bit closer to fulfiling a lifetime dream of competing for my country, I keep doing my part and keep hoping the Universe does the rest, and while I daydream and want this to go my way daily, there's a part of me holding it's breath telling me " dont' get too carried away.." Difficult not to, though

It's all teamwork, and I have a great team of support behind me: my husband, Kenny, who texts me and calls me with loving messages of "go-get-'em",    my friends here in Philly, my Mom and Dad back home and my Directors Sportif in PR, Chago and Jaime... thank you all

 

I am lucky and I am blessed. I hope to have good news soon....