to Yellow 8. It was OK to get left behind completely. It was OK to quit this series altogether if I needed to. My faith in my body, it seemed, was in no way restored. I rode 25 miles with my new group that day. I rode at the front of the group. I even climbed the switchbacks among the fastest of them. And at the end of that long afternoon, I loaded my bicycle onto the back of my car smiling ear to ear. I was doing it! At home that night, I registered for the Kaiser Permanente STP presented by Alaska Airlines. “This isn’t a commitment to actually do it,” I reassured myself, “but I have a spot if I can.” Top: Taking a rest during one of my rides on the Burke-Gilman Trail. Bottom: All smiles during the Cascade Training Series.
A few weeks later, I booked my hotel at the finish line and my train ticket home. Little by little, my confidence was building. At the time that I’m writing this, I’m four weeks into CTS. I am in the saddle three, sometimes four days a week. Last week I rode an aggregate 97 miles. This week, I’ll do my first half century. Every ride is still my longest, hardest, scariest ride. I’m nervous every single time I get geared up. I spend hours on the Burke-Gilman Trail practicing skills others long ago mastered: taking my hands off the handlebars, signaling, stopping, dismounting, starting again. Every day I wake up, and one way or another, I support my goal. I still don’t know whether I’ll finish CTS, if I’ll make it to STP or if I’ll cross the finish line. But I know I’m at the start of something really great. And if I do cross that finish line on Sunday, July 16, 2017 — on my two-year anniversary of treating late-stage Lyme disease — I’ll consider this body of mine reclaimed. And I just might finally call myself… a badass lady cyclist.
Editor’s note: At the time of publication, Karla is well into her CTS training and doing well. All signs point to a strong finish at the STP.
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