6 1/2 hours in the saddle today. Lots of climbing, lots of fun. These rides have a way of hitting the reset button on my body. It's like emptying your tank, and cleaning it out, so you can fill it back up with fresh water. I always feel rejuvenated (after a bath and a meal) after completing a day roaming the hills on my bike.

At one point I wondered if I was fulfilling my passion by road cycling. I'm quite a nature girl and used to think riding where all the cars drive was lame. These last months have become a love affair with the sport. It's BIG KID adventure. I think fondly of the locations I ride past, like I belong in the hills, like these roads are my home.

The friends I share this sport with have become family. I used to be a cautious rider, now I haul. I used to turn willy nilly, now I find my line and stick it. I used to climb with my heart, now I climb with my head. It's not the lessons learned that I enjoy, it the potential for adventure that I crave. My fear of fast descents have become pure thrill. The pain of sticking on Steve's wheel has become dessert.