Seattle To Portland

Dealing with anxiety

What do you say when everyone asks “are you excited, are you ready, how are you?” I’ve tried responding about how I really feel – nervous, excited, ready, not ready, not sure – and people look at me like I’m nuts. I was actually told that I need to sound more confident about my bike ride this weekend. Of course, it’s not just a bike ride. It’s the STP – Seattle to Portland on a bike. 203 miles over two days on city and county roads. With 10,000 other riders.

I know I’m ready. I’ve done the seat miles. I’ve done the hills. I tested out more hills this last weekend just to be sure. I’m mostly packed and have my snacks and food set-up. I’ve looked at the course. But it’s still a big unknown.

How do you deal with the unknown? I’ve recently taken to visualization. When I was doing a ride with 2800 feet of elevation gain recently, I visualized myself riding up the hill. I was panting. But in my mind, I made it to the top. So when I did the actual ride, I knew I could make it to the top. Why? I had pictured it in my mind. Athletes do this all the time. They visualize throwing a perfect pass, making a perfect basket, hitting the ball. For the STP, I’m visualizing riding up the hills; stopping at the rest stops; cruising into Winlock on Day 1 after completing 120 miles and being tired, but happy. I’m visualizing 25 miles at a time. That’s how far apart the rest stops are. I know I can do 25 miles at a time. And I know I can do these hills. I’m visualizing success each mile.

So if you ask me how I’m doing, I still might say I’m nervous. But I know I can do this. And I’ll finish in Portland on Sunday upright on my own power.

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