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Besting.

My Tuesdays are the same every week.


I put on my Tuesday uniform (a green Shredly romper, which totally means business), march over to the library, curiously consider the full-length dress ladies at the door passing out pamphlets on salvation, and navigate to THE BEST table (unless it's occupied by the fisherman. He always has his fishing pole on the ready.). The BEST table is located... Wait. I will not tell you that secret. It's bad enough that fisherman and I compete for it every Tuesday. Instead, I will merely share that it is tucked in a dark and quiet place---no glare on my screen and isn't prone to foot traffic. It is perfect in every way. And, when it is not, there's noise cancelling ear buds and a blank stare to keep the riff raff at bay.


Back to Tuesdays. Just me and my laptop at the library, working on various projects and listening to Tyler, the Creator, as one does. This time of year, I spend most of my time thinking, coordinating, and writing about sports---mostly mountain biking, but not solely. Because this time of year, the social media feeds flood with outdoor challenges, adventures, and quotes like this one:


"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift."

--Steve Prefontaine


Thanks, Prefontaine. No going small on your watch.


Be all in.

If you're not all in, you're wasting <insert potential, gifts, time, etc.>


I'm all for being the best at being all in; of being completely present in what I'm doing. Pushing the focus and resilence buttons. Agreed.


But as a coach to many young cyclists and the super aunt to a 20-year-old now retired cyclo-cross racer and college runner, I've learned some things. Mainly, chasing the BEST often gets distorted in the minds of student-athletes and that shame is a terrible motivator. Being a young BEST chaser is usually interpreted as landing on a podium, posing with medals, and winning the acceptance of adoring adults. External and outcome based; a recipe for burnout and crushing joy when it doesn't happen. But the truth is that once all the podium spots are taken, there's still room to be the best.


True besting is a matter of intention and often needs some coaching for perspective.


  • Besting is figuring out what truly matters and nudging it along in a unique fashion. It looks different for every single person.

  • Besting is breaking down a goal into a zillion steps and taking them on one at a time.

  • Besting is understanding that in order to make progress, you're likely to have a lot of really hard, not so productive or feel good days.

  • Besting is learning how to rest and re-calibrate.

  • Besting is not one-upping.

  • Besting is doing the activities that make you crackle with life. Not just because you are good at them or because someone says you should do them, but because you really want to.

  • Besting is realizing you really love boba and taking the time to suck up every last pearl from your Wabi Sabi drink (#salemfamous)

  • Besting often means simply showing up. This is enough.


Besting also looks like this--a hawt mess of non-podium adventure:


My first marathon:


My first gravel race:


My first double century attempt:


My first 1,000 mile race attempt:


My first mountain bike race:



My gift, Prefontaine, is to be the best joy seeker around...and to get that Tuesday table. I don't need a podium to prove it.

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