First, let me begin by stating Coach Al and I completely support Jack Brennan, Tour of the Gila Race Director, for making this very difficult decision to cancel the Tour of the Gila 2021 due to the rising number of COVID-19 variant cases in Grant County.
However, despite our support of the situation, we find ourselves feeling sad, disappointed and wondering...now what?
Everyone has endured the COVID lifestyle for the past 18 months. Everyone has faced a measure of uncertainty, fear and frustration brought on by a pandemic in a technology advanced world where we probably thought this could never happen. We have all endured disappointments and let-downs. We have all had stressful experiences such as, staying inside our homes 24/7, wearing masks, standing a minimum of six feet apart from others and still getting cautious glances, waiting for an hour to enter a grocery store, searching desperately for toilet paper, and working hard to stay positive.
COVID life left us feeling like the movie Groundhog Day, minus the cute ground hog. Each day was just the same as the next day. What day is it again? Personally, we lost a business, we lost a job, we had teenagers who lost their minds (I am not sure we have found their minds yet), we rationed toilet paper, and we lost connection with friends not to mention humans in general. Surely reader, you have lost something as well.
Over one year later, as we tried to maintain somewhat of a normal training schedule, and a hopeful attitude, we joyfully got the vaccine. Yay, off we go to a somewhat normal life similar to the pre-COVID life! As we eagerly searched the cycling calendar to see which races we could participate in, the COVID Delta variant began to rear its ugly head. Slowly, but surely, races we planned to attend, including Tour of the Gila, were cancelled due to variant cases on the rise. The disappointment isn't simply from a cancelled race, it reminded us that this COVID life is not over yet. It reminded us that our deeply divided country and its citizens are still fighting a battle against COVID. Therefore, we need to continue persevering, stay positive and find "new normals" to not lose heart. We cannot let COVID win. So now what?!
Don't stop training. It's time to think outside of the box and sign-up for an event that challenges or stretches you. Maybe it is something you have wanted to try, but have not had the opportunity like gravel rides or mountain biking. Or go a longer distance than you would usually choose. Go for it! You might discover something new you really like to do.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Good physical and mental health require healthy eating, regular sleep, exercise, and smiling. Yes, smiling! A healthy lifestyle will boost your immune system and help your body fight nasty viruses. So don't give up your healthy routines and consider finding a new healthy habit to incorporate into your life.
Keep persevering and have hope. COVID will probably effect us in one way or another for a while longer, so we must not lose heart. Find ways to safely engage with friends or family. Go for multiple walks throughout the day. The sunshine is so good for us physically and mentally. Additionally, think about finding ways to help others. Make a care package for your local healthcare professionals, pick up additional groceries for a friend or it can be as simple as pulling up an elderly neighbor's trashcan or putting their newspaper by their door. Helping makes us feel good and builds up hope within us and within others.
Last but not least. The Tour of the Gila is scheduled for 2022! 2022 Tour of the Gila race dates are April 27 – May 1, 2022, so start thinking about your strategy to get ready. We have more time to prepare! Go to the website for more information.
Time has an extraordinary way of passing too quickly. I try to remind myself to be "in the moment" and enjoy each day and the experiences it brings. As hard as it has been to practice this during the COVID lifestyle, I refuse to let COVID prevent me from making investments in my most important relationships and keep me from enjoying the activities I love to do most with a few modifications! We cannot control COVID, but we can control how we respond to it. So keep on persevering!
We are Coach Al and Trish. Our goal is to share good nutrition and help support healthy lifestyles while keeping it real and simple because we all have busy lives. Nothing fancy, just real food for real life and cycling encouragement for a balanced, healthy lifestyle. Please leave a comment or question! Happy eating and cycling!