When you dabble in and out of this sport having the “off season” phase isn’t mandatory. You take a little break here and there, having that precious time away from your carbon stead does not seem appealing. If you ride a lot and had a stressful/mediocre race season, I would suggest having the time away from your two wheeled friend is quintessential. It gives you time to reflect, plan out your upcoming season, and catch up on some much needed rest.
I’ve learned a lot about riding, racing, and myself over the past few months. Racing for Monster Media was an awesome opportunity for me. Phil and Chris are fabulous people, I loved racing and learning from them. Chris opened up his home, let me crash on his couch and shared his kindness with me (thanks Chris!). Racing San Dimas, Tour Of the Gila, and Cascade were great platforms for me. Offering large fields of riders with national lever caliber. San Dimas brought 90 or so riders, while Gila brought a little over 100, and Cascade had a staggering 180 riders. I struggled with my confidence at San Dimas, I actually struggle with it everyday. I showed up to Dimas because Ryan O’keefe and Tater-tot Litchfield convinced me to go. I had a solid time trial and even a better road race on the tight course through Bonelli Park. I never saw this result coming. Neither did I see result on stage 2’s Fort Baynard at Gila coming. Result or not, the experience that comes from such a large field is humbling. The more time you spend in the bubble of riders, the more comfortable you become during tight situations. The field does not have a welcome mat on the front porch saying “Come right on in!” Instead it’s awkward stares and often riders who are the opposite of welcoming. The fault in my regimen was what happened post race. I often found myself stuffing my face with food that was less than optimal for training or even a post race meal. I prepared so much and put many resources into the preparation leading into a race, but rarely put the effort to follow up on the post race side of the equation.
As November rolls around the calendar, it’s time to start cracking the whip. I’ve decided to spend this off season training as a professional bike racer. Long hours in the saddle are soon to be happening, all smiles here! I decided to take a short break from school and give myself the opportunity to chase this weird spandex fantasy of mine. I figure if I had a solid season this year, when I give it that extra 10 percent this upcoming base period. It could be what I need to stay in this sport. This past year has been filled with a 1-1 ratio of down and ups. Long car drives alone is where I tear myself apart, I begin running through so many scenarios of my life. Where would I be if I wasn’t racing my bike is the biggest one. I shortly realize that majority of my success comes from bike racing. Bike racing has molded me into the person I am today. The experiences and people I have encountered and formed relationship with are forever. It just so happens that a bicycle unites us all. This is what propels me forward as I now fall into this “elite” amateur category. The amount of people that I am going to encounter and adventures I am going to have are unlimited. As I briefly scan the upcoming race calendar for my new team, Redlands Bicycle Classic is on the schedule. May 3rd-7th is the true test of how much grit I have and what I am I willing to sacrifice to turn my dream into a reality.