This year I’m thankful to be alive. While a global plague raged on through the world, I managed to nearly die twice within a 3-month span. I’m also thankful to have so many supportive friends and loved ones who have been there for me throughout every step of this year. I love you all so much and I cannot wait to give all of you so many long-awaited hugs.
Jan-March: 150 hours, 145,434ft of climb
The first months of the year were some of the best of my entire life thus far. I managed to pull off taking 16 credit hours, working 15 hours a week, training 14-17 hours, and somehow maintaining a flourishing social life throughout the semester. These busy, but jam-packed, first 12 weeks of the year contained my only two races of the year, Middlebury Snowbowl and Bromley Skimo. I spent whatever free time I had at Jay Peak climbing through frozen corduroy or raging in Wright 4 with the gals. My mornings were filled with warmth at breaky, and my evenings with long nights at simpy, I’m so thankful that I got to experience this period of life because it showed me how much happiness and joy is possible.
April-May: 107 hours, 65,512ft of climb
With the abrupt end to all life, I was thrust back to Virginia where I spent most of my days on Tik Tok or forcing myself through blackboard lectures. Fortunately, virtual simpy with Zoe, calls with the gals, and beginning to find a new love on the bike provided needed relief from the monotony of online school. As the leaves began to green and the days lengthen I was fortunate enough to go on a few covid friendly hikes with Emery and rides with Andrew. It was so wonderful to see some close friends before I embarked to Colorado to spend the summer with my grandparents.
June-August: 140 hours, 162,157ft of climb
With the pandemic worsening and my summer ultras canceled I decided to devote my summer towards cycling. Watching Phil Gaimon and Charli’s Everesting helped me discover an entirely new goal to pursue. For 7 weeks I did nothing but sleep, climb, tik tok, repeat. Everything was closed and I barely knew anyone so there wasn’t much to do besides get fit. Unfortunately, this is the period where things began to unravel for me. In late July I took a left-handed corner too fast going down Lookout Mtn. and slide out my bike and crashed at 40mph. I ended up in a clinic where I was not only misgendered but also groped by one of the nurses. While I have mostly recovered, the physical and mental scars will stay with me for years to come. Yet, despite that awful event I still managed to put some of the most impressive feats of my life and some numbers that are seriously impressive. I submitted mt Evans (14,250ft) twice, did over 10,000 of climb in a single ride, put in 2 back-to-back 70,000ft months, and summited Lookout Mtn. 26 times.
September-December: 140,5 hours, 166,075ft of climb
Due to last-minute policy changes at UVM my best friends, Gabo, Emma, Georgia, and Maggie, decided to live together in Hinsdale Massachusetts. So, after driving from Colorado to Virginia in mid-August, I packed up my car again and made the drive up north. While certainly not what any of us would have imagined our 3rd semester of college would look like; hugging my friends after not seeing them for over 6 months helped to ease any unhappiness. I spent the first weeks learning a new set of roads and recovering from my injuries before setting my eyes on half-everesting in mid-October. Without the pressure of working or socializing I had nearly unlimited time to study and train. I put together some phenomenal (although often cold) rides, including a 6,000ft ride in under 3 hours. In addition, I was able to do it while spending most of my evenings on the couch watching Handmaid’s Tale with some of my favorite people in the whole world. I was also fortunate that all of them agreed to assist me in my crazy ride. I already wrote a long blog post about my experience on River Road, but the further I get from it the more proud I am of that day. Everything came together that day, the weather, my crew, my legs, my and my nutrition. It also happened in spite of some miserable training conditions, a horrific crash, and the fact that absolutely no one would expect me to keep going this late the season. I had originally planned to call it quits for the season after recovering from my crash, but I decided to give it one more shot and I am so proud of how I performed that day.
Sadly, after the high that was my performance I began spiraling into a deep depression, which resulted in a desperate turn towards finding anything that could help. I ended up asking my therapist about anti-depressants and given my state she agreed that they would be worth a try. Unfortunately, I had an absolutely grotesque reaction and ended up going into Serotonin Shock Syndrome. Because of this, I ended up losing consciences and collapsing into Georgia and Maggie’s room after trying to go to them for help. As I laid on the ground I absolutely thought that I was going to die. Thankfully, my friends were able to bring me back and quickly get me off to a hospital. Over the proceeding weeks, I continued to battle constant panic attacks. I’m so thankful that my family and friends were there to support me throughout that time because I was in such a terrifying place.
Total Year Stats: 366 Days of Activities, 538 hours, 539,177ft of climb
With the conclusion of the semester and ski season well underway the end of the year began to offer some light at the end of the tunnel. Not everything is perfect, and I’m still struggling most days, but finally having a little bit of hope has provided an enormous amount of joy in my life. I again want to thank all of my friends and family that have supported me throughout this year. I absolutely know that I would not have made it to where I am now without your love and support. So, here’s to a Happy New year, and another trip around the sun: climbing mountains, sunrises, hugs, dance parties (whatchu you know about night terrors?), journal articles, and love.