The Magic of Discomfort: Ali Halpin Takes on Fontana and Sea Otter

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Elite racer Ali Halpin of the #HiFiCX squad ventured to CA-land to test her limits in the Pro fields of Fontana (Cross Country and Short Track events) and Sea Otter (Cross Country, Short Track and some spring Cyclocross racing). We’re inspired any time a racer pushes boundaries and takes on new challenges, and we love supporting Ali’s endeavord. Here are her words: 

by Ali Halpin

A dear friend recently sent me a text that stated: “Honey your comfort zone is a beautiful thing, but you’ll never grow there.” Putting ourselves outside of our comfort zone makes us venerable and uncomfortable. It’s also invigorating and provides great learning and growth opportunities. Racing outside of Oregon, with some of the fastest ladies in the world, has been a huge step outside of my comfort zone this year. While it took motivation and determination to make it to these events, there was another important piece to the equation I learned in my travels that has helped in these times of discomfort.

Fontana and Sea Otter presented challenges that went beyond the race itself. I struggled to feel like I belonged in the pro field. Surrounded by team tents, matching bikes and kits, I felt like a sandlot kid with pseudo short sleeve skinsuit that I cut the sleeves off of just before the race. I was extremely uncomfortable and intimidated. There were tears, frustrations, and self doubt before I realized that it’s not all about the results or the glitz and glam of a team tent; it goes deeper than that. It’s the feeling of putting yourself out there and giving it everything you have on that particular day. The hi-fives and hugs from complete strangers after the hardest efforts to date. It’s about the cheers on the course from warm friendly faces. It’s about the caring women who cleaned the gravel out of your torn up leg while telling you about her family. The Oregon community is my comfort zone but that same community exists outside of our state lines. Fontana and Sea Otter introduced me to some awesome people from around the country and even people in my own backyard.

The past few weeks have been a reminder to be the person that makes others feel welcome and comfortable. I challenge each and every one of you to be the one that says hi to a new face. Hi-five your competition, smile and be a warm light to those around you. Share a La Croix with someone after the race or invite a new face along for a cool-down spin. No matter what level you race at these little things can be the difference between someone getting hooked or never racing again. At the end of the day, it’s the community that makes racing so great. Stepping out of your comfort zone is a beautiful thing, but we all need the support of community to thrive in the midst of discomfort.