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Embracing Every Moment at 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo

The 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo (24HOP) isn't just a race; it's a celebration of the mountain biking community. It brings together legends and newcomers alike, all united by their love for the trail. This year, catching up with Todd Sadow, the mastermind behind Epic Rides, served as a powerful reminder of how his unwavering dedication has sculpted events that truly center around the rider's experience. His work inspires not just me but countless others in the community.

Heading into 24HOP, I carried a mix of excitement and apprehension. The truth is, my fitness level isn't where it has been for past races here. The last couple of years have been a journey of recovery from a traumatic brain injury (TBI), a journey to find healing and joy on the bike once again. Previously, I've tackled this course with a singular focus on victory. This time, the objective was different — I was here with a team, a group assembled not just to compete but to connect, share joy, and test our personal boundaries.

Still, it is difficult for me not to compare myself to the old Rebecca. Returning to the same course over the years offers a unique lens through which to view oneself - a blend of then and now. Yet, this comparison can be misleading, not fully accounting for the changes life and circumstance throw our way. With this in mind, I consciously chose not to look up my past lap times before the race. I aimed to be kind to myself, to sidestep the pressure of matching previous times. My focus was on being fully present, immersing myself in the camaraderie and joy of racing on a beloved course. My performance instead was measured in effort, consistency, and smoothness, rather than minutes and seconds.

My affection for this course runs deep. I've experienced it as a solo rider, in duos, and as part of a team. Upon embarking on my first lap, a sense of familiarity enveloped me. I instinctively remembered every twist and turn, knowing precisely when to push harder or take a moment to recover. It was as if the course and I were old friends, easily falling back into a comfortable rhythm. This reunion with racing, with pushing my limits on a bike, was both exhilarating and profoundly comforting. Night laps, in particular, held their usual enchantment, transforming each ride into a serene, almost dreamlike experience.

Reflecting on the event, the essence of 24HOP truly lies in its embodiment of the mountain biking community's dynamic spirit. For me, this year's race underscored the notion of connection — with fellow riders, with the trail, and with the shared journey through the desert. It served as a beautiful reminder of the joy found in uniting for a common challenge and relishing the simple act of riding together.

24HOP, for all its competitiveness and intensity, has once more proven to be a profound source of reconnection and rediscovery — not just of the trail, but of myself within this vibrant community we call mountain biking.

Be Good

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