Woman of Inspiration Day 8: Mary McConnoloug
It's Monday and the sun is finally warming this city to 60 today. The birds are chirping and bikes and yoga are my priorities today! As an entrepreneur, I am grateful for my years in the field racing to keep me dedicated to my physical health as it is not separate from mental wellbeing and focus. More on that later this week, but for today, I want to share the story of how Mary McConneloug inspired me to be courageously grounded.
The first time that I officially met Mary was on Bofax road, about half way up an epic 6km climb. I was muddy as can be on my moutain bike (26") and she was clean catching me on her road bike. I was in the middle of winning the PR Grasshopper race, which she skipped it to save her legs for her next race and was just riding an epic road ride. Instead of dusting me, she started chatting and pulled me to the dirt. It was so sweet of her and fueled my attitude with bliss for the last long haul back Bolinas Ridge to the finish for the win.
The next time, I got to ride with her (other then getting crushed by her in races), was a couple year later when I was fresh into the Pro field. She came out to Inverness to go on a fun winter training ride with me. What she gave me that day were the tools to conquer more then just racing. At the time we were both yogi's so talking about how yoga balanced our riding was natural. What came out of the conversation for me was the mentorship to leave a plateau in my yoga practice, and change my attitude about racing.
I had always admired Mary for her peaceful raw nature while she just killed in races, nationally and around the world. How could she win and be so calm? Well, on this amazing epic 4000 foot climb ride, in my backyard, that I shared with Mary, she told me about a book. This book is not like any other I own. It is not long, nor complex, but this book became the tool that I have used for over a decade to stay grounded and grow as an athlete, businesswoman, coach, mother, wife, yoga teacher, leader.... It is the book that I have shared with many of my students that are seeking to reach their full potential in life. The book is called Thinking Body, Dancing Mind. I hope it helps you grow too.
Ok, so she told me about a book that changed my life. That was one piece of it. But she also showed me where I was creating limits for myself that I could overcome. After crashing in front of her on a water bar (I learned how to jump it the very next time I road there and always did after). Then there was the knarly loose little climb that was a hike-a-bike for most. I had only seen a couple guys clean it ever, so I never tried. On this ride with Mary, I ran up it watching her clean the whole thing effortlessly! In awe at the top, I gave her huge props and she told me that I could do it too, I just had to try. Guess what? I did it. It took me a good 10 efforts before I cleaned it, but I did. And then I cleaned it everytime.
Her story to be an Olympian was an inspiration for so many but her humble nature left her out of the spotlight so many times. There were many more lessons that Mary shared with me that changed how I road bikes, but the one that made the biggest impact was the understanding that our competition is our greatest tool to reach our potential. Without the field, the winner doesn't need to push to the limit to conquer. This makes everyone in the field a valuable asset to that win. When I was new in the field, this blew my mind and gave me something to fight for in every race. It also made being friendly with the competition a lot more rewarding.
I hope you take a moment to look up Mary McConneloug's story as she has many years of exciting racing all over the world. She is my Monday Woman of Inspiration. I hope you like the new Wonder Bloomers, Mary! They are dedicated to all the ladies of cycling that have worked for those Royal Stars!!