Minnie Swetel: Inspiration for us all

I first met Minnie through AZ Gravel Rides.  She is always the one out in full force to support the company's long gravel training days.  A fully stocked truck with supplies and aid, she maneuvered between the front and the back of the group to make sure everybody was well cared for.  I never saw her ride and I always wondered if she wanted to. If that would provide her happiness.

In September 2017 she came to me with an idea.  She tells me she feels as though she may be loosing a passion for life and believes that using the mountain bike as a tool, that she will find energy and her way again.  Exclaiming that she has a history of mountain biking but has allowed it to disappear from her life for much too long.  She has made the goal to ride the Dawn to Dusk mountain bike race in December in the solo masters division and wonders if I'm able to make miracles with 3 months time.

Well I took a deep breath, just like the one I'm taking now as I reflect.  I'm not so sure that I am the one that makes the miracles, it comes from the heart, soul, and desires of the ones who want the miracle to happen.  With that thought process, I said, "Minnie, as long as you are willing to put in the effort and this is something you truly want then I guarantee that you will have a successful experience on the mountain bike, and I will guide you as best as I can towards that goal."

For 3 months I've worked with Minnie and she has put forth a ton of energy and so much passion that I wish I could have bottled it up for all to share.  The journey started with getting herself a bike and spending the first bit reacquainting herself with it.  We communicated to find out what was too much and what was too little, she was constantly pushing herself to get stronger.  She wanted to be better each day, but there is a balancing act to play in order to gain fitness at the right ramp rate and to not injure ourselves or over train our systems.  The last thing I wanted for Minnie was for her to tell me she burned her bike in the fire pit in frustration!  There were harder days for sure, but there were very successful days as well. 

Minnie comes with great humor and comic relief.   Her personality shined through the training.  Take it from her that the first time out on the trail, she was passed by a lady who was walking her dog and strived to overtake her!  :)  Sometimes she would tell me that she didn't complete the workout in its entirety because it would have brought her too close to death.  Other days, she was zooming around the trail and doing extra efforts because she is feeling fierce and powerful.

She is human, she is raw, she is a powerful soul. She makes your day shine from being around her and just thinking of her.  The more passion she found on the mountain, the more passion I have found in coaching her.  There were times when she wanted to throw in the towel and questioned our sanity, but in the weeks leading up to Dawn to Dusk, she got more and more confident.  In our conversations a week out from the race, she literally told me "Ohhh yeah Kata, I got this!"   

With her husband and her family by her side, she looped the 16.5 mile Dawn to Dusk course 6 times in one day totaling 99 miles!  Just 3 months ago she was hoping onto her new bike to feel it out and now she shines on podiums and gets her named called out for awards. I've loved every moment of being by her side and watching her go through the ups and downs and the ultimate success in finding passion for life again.  

What better way to roll into the Holidays.  As Minnie wrote to me last week, "I'm dancing through Home Depot with new confidence and I feel so strong.  I'm back bitches!"  Yes you are girl! Yes you ARE! 

Kata Skaggs