I was not sure exactly what to title this blog entry. “Gift to myself’ sounded a little strange but that’s what this entire process was – a gift to myself.
If you’ve read some of the past posts, you’ve read that I got pretty sick at the end of last season. Under the care of an amazing physician and some awesome practitioners, I am slowly starting to come out of a 6+ month hibernation of zero activity.
In my time away from training I kept looking at my bike. It just sat there for the longest time. It looked sad. Lonely. Out of all three sports, the bike is the one that I’ve really come to adore. I love being outside. I love the air moving past my face. It’s just fun. Being sick made me sad. Sad that I couldn’t do what I wanted to do. I started to get really mad and frustrated. I started to look back at the years of racing and hard work I had put in only to feel disappointed that I had not made it to Kona yet, hadn’t broken the 5 hour mark on a 70.3 even though I was fit. …and to make things worse, now I was told I wasn’t allowed to train! I had this huge road block to my progress -I started to focus on the negatives.
When I was allowed to start doing a very small amount of activity, I was so happy. I went on a run. It was short – 20 minutes or so. The gratitude I felt to be outside and be allowed to run was amazing. It was one of three workouts I could do a week and it was freedom. It reminded me of why I got into this sport in the first place. It took me back to the days in college when I was suffering from debilitating depression and an eating disorder – this sport got me out of bed. It was a reminder of this amazing life this sport has given me; my husband, my career, my friends, and achievements I never thought I would have accomplished in a million years.
Enter the magical Tony Baumann.
I’m Rad…So Is Tony
My first exposure to Made Rad By Tony or Tony Baumann was when he painted the #flowshiv and the #starmac (check them out). I follow Chris Riekert on Instagram and Facebook (he also sold me my first triathlon bike over 10 years ago, small world) so when I kept seeing these super badass paint jobs on some of these Specialized bikes I always thought that would be so sweet to have done on my bike. I just never thought I would ACTUALLY get it done.
Combine the voice in my head that said this would be totally RAD-ass with the above found gratitude for just getting back to the love of the sport, I sent Tony an email with an idea…
Infinite Love and an Irish Gym Teacher
When I started talking with Tony, I knew I wanted to honor the people in my life who have supported me and were there when I really needed it. I also wanted it to be a reminder to never give up, to continue to fight for my dreams, and to keep moving forward. I knew I wanted two things on the bike “Infinite Love and Gratitude” – a saying that my amazing uncle Jeff Smith says and has taught me through his battle with cancer, and “Never Say Die” something my middle school gym teacher and field hockey coach, Romily Stackpoole, said. She was a riot and someone who had fierce belief in my abilities as an athlete. She hated that I chose performing over athletics in high school (which is only partly true, I did play ice hockey). She also used to say “Christmas Day in the workhouse!” Not pertinent to this topic, but I think about that all the time.
From there it was a natural progression of phrases, prayers, and thoughts that motivate me, encourage me, or honor something or someone in my life.
I gave Tony the words and he brought it to life. I basically gave him free reign on
where to put things, how to color them, and how to make it work. He knew that every phrase and set of initials meant something to me and he was so wonderful through the process. We really didn’t have to discuss much at all, I knew he was an artist who could do what I wanted so we just kinda had faith that it would turn out super Rad. It was so much awesomeness and love and beauty in one.
I wanted to write this blog not only to share my thoughts about why I had this done, but also to publicly thank Tony. I appreciate the care (and the glitter) you put into this bike. I know it was time consuming and different than anything you have done before and I am very grateful. Thank you for helping honor those people who have been so instrumental in my life. Infinite love and gratitude!