Pan Am Championships 2015

11230601_10207243423945290_3111857718067646494_nThe thud in my left hip. That is what I’m waiting for. While I’m spinning on the rollers early in the morning, with my down vest and Team USA stocking cap on, my first goal of the day, before racing even gets started, is putting my hip back where it belongs, so that left leg can do its thing. Smashing into the track at 66kph did it’s work on the left side of my body. And 4 months later, I’m still not sure what’s totally wrong with it. But it’s cold, and I love it. This is where I thrive. I’m spinning, I do my first effort..nothing. I try again. And it goes. “Clunk”. That sudden release of tension and pain, flowing into power and speed. Ok. I’m ready. The collarbone on the other hand…I must have slept wrong, or my body’s rejecting the plate and screws. But I only have to hold onto the bars for eight laps. Completely doable. Do I want to wrap my arm? I think I’ll be ok. Like I said…eight laps. Let’s just get through this round. Let’s not have a recap of last year. Let’s prove everyone wrong, because I’m back.

I felt like a pinball. Getting bounced around, getting thrown to the back. What just happened? But it’s ok. There is a rep ride. This is my first real keirin back from crashing at 66kph straight onto my face. I got the first one out of the way. And this is south america. You aren’t going to get this much contact anywhere else. It was time to line up again. I was ready to get bumped this time. I was ready for all the illegal moves that are somehow legal in these countries. And I went through, by the skin of my teeth. You could feel the lack of belief in the air. But that just made me more pissed off than hurt. And I was going to prove everyone wrong, because of it.

I was ready for the second round. My hip was still in its place. I wrapped my wrist tight, pushing the pain aside. I had two more rides. And I was going to make it happen. The motor pulled off and I went straight to the front. 500m to go. I pushed the speed higher, and higher, and higher, and at one lap to go, we were going. I stood up, but there was nothing left, we went into corner one, and I held that black line as hard as I could. Still in the front going down the back straight, I told myself, “Just keep pushing. This is just like training.” I pushed. Coming around corners three and four I could feel them breathing down my throat. But I led through the finish, and won my semi-final, putting me into the 1-6 final for gold. Just like the world cup in Colombia. That was the first time I felt like my old self again. I wasn’t timid, I wasn’t scared. I didn’t feel the pain. I was just, me. And I was proving them wrong, one pedal stroke at a time.

One more ride. I’ve been sitting on the floor of our hotel room applying for jobs, grants, and setting up interviews. I’ve been fighting with insurance companies and hospitals. I didn’t go through all this to give the doubters what they were looking for. But, I fell one place short. A 4th place finish burns worse than finishing 6th.  One step from adding to the medal count. One step from coming home with my first medal from a pan am championships. Even though a 4th place finish was the highest finish of both the men’s and women’s sprinters over the entire event, when medals are all that matters, it might as well not have been.

 

So just like that, it was over. Back at home, it’s been non-stop calls with insurance companies and hospitals. Threats taking my bills to collections because I can’t make the payments. Taking on every interview I’m granted, and accepting every position offered. I have had the opportunity to work alongside the owner of ERO personally, finally taking up his offer to train me and I’m loving it. I’ve got a class full of second graders as a teacher, who love to raise their hands and giggle as they say, “Ms. Missy! I need help!” And working as a coach and all around helper with Big Picture Cycling has been fun too! Although cycling is being put on the back burner for a little while, I’m hoping with all the work I am doing, I can pull together enough funds to keep this dream alive just a little longer. I don’t have the funds to get me to a world cup right now, I’m thankful for the support that has come forward to help me get there in the future.

I’m optimistic to what that future holds. I have some incredible opportunities set in place, I have an incredible group of supporters and sponsors, who have always stood behind me, through the thick and thin. I know I wouldn’t have gotten to the 2015 Pan Am Championships without as those following and the amazing words I have received. It’s been a crazy last few months, and an even crazier last 3.5 years, but the things I’ve taken away from it have changed me for the better so many times over. A lot is outside my control, and I will continue to control what I can. And in doing so, I know I will find where I need to be.

-missy

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Keeping the Dream Alive

After what seems like forever that I go without posting on my blog, now all the news hits at once. Yesterday, the team for the 2015 Pan Am Championships was announced via USA Cycling’s website. I logged into my Facebook account, and the first thing on my newsfeed was an article posted just minutes before I logged on. I starred at it for a few minutes. I said nothing. I took a deep breath, and I clicked. And there I saw it, my name listed as a Team USA member selected to represent in Santiago Chile, over September 1-6th, 2015.
I loaded the UCI website, went straight to the rankings page, which had been updated just the day before, and found, that somehow, by some means, we had managed to be ranked first in both the sprint and keirin, which then had qualified me as an automatic selection based off those selection criteria documents we sat down and studied after my horrific mother’s day accident.
There’s a lot of work to be done in the next three weeks, and I’m very honored to be selected alongside the other athletes. Thank you to my sponsors and supporters who have stayed behind me through this process, and thank you to the individuals at USA Cycling who continue to believe in me.

Read more here: https://www.usacycling.org/2015-pan-american-continental-track-championships-roster-named.htm

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Starting, again. Again. Again.

When we sat down and looked at the selection criteria, trying to come up with a plan for the remainder of the season, July 31st became the deadline. We had our fingers crossed, maybe I could race in T-town at the end of June (no). Or maybe in Japan in early July (no). Or maybe in China (no). And as the days crept closer, I became clear we needed to buckle down and just do it. We settled on the UCI Class 3 Marymoor Grand Prix, where I was also going to have my last opportunity to represent my national championship titles from 2014.

Andy and I began pushing the limits. He would ask, “Can you do that? Will you be able to do this?”, and I would reply, “I don’t know. I just have to try.” With 5 days of continuous training under my belt, the track closing for 5 days, and Andy heading to Master’s Nationals, Dominic and I loaded up the car and drove all the way up to Seattle for the Marymoor Grand Prix. Eighteen solid hours alongside one of the chattiest, goofiest junior riders of the age, we were blessed to stay with a great host family, nestled amongst the dense woods and silence of Washington. A big change from the California look, but one I welcomed with open arms, after feeling trapped for months inside southern California, not able to do much at all.

11218772_476691249165263_8537566587674695895_nAlong the drive up, I got an email from the owners at Vie 13, who had my kits ready to rock, displaying my signature national champ design, but mixed in with my new colors of Big Picture Cycling‘s Mission Possible. They were then sent direct, overnighted, and the next morning there was a knock on the host house door, with all the speedsuits an athlete would dream of having.

Vie 13 has been a company I’ve been blessed to be part of for over a year now, and I’m always amazed at the kit designs, quality, and professionalism of their brand. They are a company that believes in me and what I do, 100%, and has been behind me all the way, especially since the crash. I love the look of these new kits, and couldn’t wait to get out on the track in them!!

But the weather had other plans.

“Rain, rain, go away…” was the tune of the weekend. On and off, on and off. As soon as the track dried, mother nature would bring back the moisture and dampen the surface. We became a cozy, close-knit community of track racers, huddled under tents that were lowered, and hiding from the collections of rain that would drench you if the wind blew just right and the tarp picked up. But warm ups began, and first up for the UCI elite women sprinters was the match sprint and flying 200m.

61107309-MMR+GP+7.24.15+a.m.-8331I ended up qualifying first in the flying 200m. I wasn’t pleased with my time, nor was it anything close to what I had been riding the day before or even in my warm up effort. That was partially due to the fact that I didn’t pay enough attention and misunderstood the lap counts into the wind-in. I take full responsibility for that, and am a bit embarrassed to say the least. There’s no question that I had quite a bit more work to do before I’m competition ready at the international world cup level, but what we do have right now is some time, and that’s a good thing.

Getting back into racing, I was nervous! I hadn’t had to line up for an event in months! Not since the 2015 World Championships last February! But once it began, it came back smoothly. I had fun again moving around on the track, and racing the tactically impressive Nissy Cobb in the semi-final, she did not give it to me easy!

Then it started raining again. After hours and hours at the track, warming up, again and again….it was called. After starting our 200ms at 10am, we were going home at 9:30pm. I ate some tacos from the taco truck, we packed our things up, and we went home to an amazing meal, prepared for us by our host mom.

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The next morning we woke up and headed to the track. It was raining, foggy, and cold, just like the morning before. As soon as the track was dry, the women’s sprints were up first. Today I had to wear my splint while riding. I managed to fall while crossing the track, since the lines were obviously wet, and made the mistake of putting my hands out to catch my fall. Carrying rollers probably wasn’t a good idea, but they had to get into the track somehow.. Luckily, while racing, my mind goes in other directions and I didn’t even think twice about it. After a few months, you get used to having something holding your wrist stable. After two rides, I was happy to come away with my first Marymoor Grand Prix sprint title. But we weren’t finished there. It was now 12pm, and we had the keirin coming too.

Since a huge storm was predicted to hit, all my applause goes out to Amara for making quick decisions and coming up with the game plan to squish all the UCI racing in ASAP. We watched the boys finish their sprint finals, and we lined up on the track. As we left the line, the rain came. We didn’t even make it 1/2 way around the track before it was called, and we were huddled back under the tents, waiting it out.

The track then cleared, the brooms and blowers did their jobs, and we were racing. And I was so so so happy to come away with my 3rd of 3 Marymoor Keirin titles. There was a little drama with the motor bike crashing, but thankfully the driver was not injured in the process.

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MMR GP 7.25.15 p.m.-8932In our sport there is no reassurance. There are few words besides our own individual hope that keeps us going each day. After a few months after an accident, those words fall short and rarely come, while you wait and see what the next move is going to be. The summer race season is over, nationals are coming up here shortly, and I’ll be sitting in the stands unable to defend my national titles. But going up to Marymoor was an amazing escape, the wins solidified my world cup qualifying eligibility, and it proved to be that despite only having 5 whole days under my belt, I was well on my way back.

As I grow and change in this sport, my sponsors grow and change with me. The ones that have followed have loved being part of my team, have supported me unconditionally, and since the accident, have sent car packages, emails, and abundant support in helping me come back. They believe in me, my olympic dream, and they believe that I can do it. But it has also been shown in this time the sponsors that aren’t in it for me. The ones that like the winning image more than a fighting one. And that is ok. At the end of the day, as the athlete, I need to do what is best for me. And the team I have behind me has been a huge part of what has moved me forward. And I thank them all tremendously for that.

So, whatever does come next, wherever I will be taken too, whatever incredible opportunities arise, I will never forget all these bumps and bruises along the way, I will never forget the support, encouragement, kind messages, generosity, and love. I’m very proud to be riding for Big Picture Cycling’s Mission Possible, as well as having the support of its surrounding sponsors, as well as my own. I’m very proud of the results I achieved at the UCI Marymoor Grand Prix, also part of the NTC. I’m excited to work with some junior athletes at the national championships this next week, and I’m looking forward to see what direction I turn next.

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Time.

I’ve always opened up on the emotional side of things, versus the traditional posts from others. It’s vulnerable and hard, but its a look at how the last few weeks have been. I’m very thankful for every person that has come to my side during this time. I will forever be indebted. I am on the road to recovery, and I’m committed to getting on the bike as soon as I can safely. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Maybe this will help others on their way to recovery, too. 

Sunday morning I couldn’t wait to ride everything together for the first time: New wheels, new bike, new handlebars, new shoes, new tires, new helmet, and the skin suit I won my world cup medal in. I was leaving for Germany in less than two days, and was going to play some fun sprint games with the boys to brush out the cobwebs.

I remember coming around corner three, passing him. I didn’t enter the lane. I remember opening my eyes, and my face was sliding on the wood. I remember opening my eyes again, and someone was holding my head telling me not to move. The first thoughts that crossed my mind were, “something is really wrong”, “my head hurts”, “where is my bike?”, “I’m going to Germany in two days”…

“Where does it hurt?” WTF. Where doesn’t it hurt.
“Melissa, do you know your name?” You just said it.
“Her collarbone is clearly broken. There’s a severe deformity.” Then the tears just fell.

It’s hard to put into words how hard this has been on me. I spent a lot of time in denial. I kept thinking I was living a bad dream and this would go away the next morning. I remember a sudden switch into anger. I couldn’t listen to the “you’ll be back before you know it”, or Andy talking over training plans with his athletes. I remember one day I had to get up and close his door, in tears, listening to them talk about racing in ttown and how much fun it will be.

I was angry for a long time. I couldn’t express what I was thinking. Andy coaches the athletes I was riding with. I couldn’t put blame on him, or the boys or myself. I watched the video, I saw the impact that broke my collarbone in three pieces, fractured and dislocated my wrist, tore the ligaments and meniscus, and gave me a concussion. I cried a lot. I missed out on the USA National team trip to Germany. Now I’m missing out on all the ttown events, all the Colorado events, and most likely the national championships as well. My dad was going to come to ttown over fathers day, to watch me race for the first time in person since 2010. And before the crash I was riding all time best power and flying 200m times.

I’ve had to give up the hope and possibility of racing until mid-august now, missing all racing to earn points towards the USA Cycling Pan Am and World Cup team qualification date, meaning my shot at those teams is completely out of my hands. Not making those teams means missing the chance to be named to the Olympic Long Team, which later turns into the short team, which then determines who will be representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics. Instead, I sit and wait. Cross my fingers, and hope by some miracle this dream isn’t going to die by an accident that wasn’t my fault.

It sounds weird, to have so much emotion over a crash, but I was following the stages step by step and I didn’t even realize it. I was lashing out, and as more people came to visit, I would feel better, but when they left, I sunk deeper and deeper into a depression that wasn’t just hurting me, but everyone around me, too. Andy was feeding me, bathing me, dressing me, driving me, putting me to bed…I couldn’t do anything on my own. My headache was about to explode my head, my elbow on the right has a bone chip, my left arm is splinted past the elbow, and my collarbone wouldn’t let me turn my head. I was going over UCI points, rules, selection documents, and race schedules, every single day, trying to come up with some sort of plan.

Then something just gave. I gave up. I didn’t see the point, I was tired of trying to act how everyone thought I should be, of trying to be positive and hopeful. I accepted that I can’t do anything. I can’t lift, ride the track, ride bent over on a bike. I’ve got weeks left in this recovery, and there’s nothing I can do about it. I wasn’t angry, I didn’t feel anything. I was just…there.

Then I went to the gym and felt the pressure of the leg press again. It’s one of the few things I can do, I got light-headed, nauseous, and couldn’t push much before I could feel the effects of surgery and the concussion, but it was enough to start pulling me back out from under the shadows. To get out of the house was huge, to get back in a place I was familiar with that wasn’t a hospital gave me some more hope.

Not even a week ago, I went under the knife again. This time to repair the ligaments and meniscus that were damaged in my wrist. Now I wait some more. With recovery between 6-8 weeks, that puts me at July 10th-24th, when I’ll be able to put pressure on my wrist again. So, I sit and wait. I’m still struggling with the anger, but its much better. I feel as though I want headphones, to walk around with so I don’t have to a) listen to people complain about how hard their workout was, or b) make plans to go racing. It’s a constant battle in my head, but everyday I’m trying.

All great athletes have had tremendous hardships. Anna Meares is a fantastic example. And just as my sports psych says, they all go through the same thing I’m facing now. I can’t control the future, I can’t control what decisions are made, how fast I heal, or how long it takes me to come back. But I can control what I am doing between now and then to help better myself, to move forward, and accept it for what it is.

My frame is back home now. Its got a big scar on it just like I have. There is a new IO on order since the one I had was completely destroyed. The disc will be shipped soon to be repaired. I’ll need to replace my helmet. But everything is coming together. It will all be patched up, and so will I.

Thank you for all the cards, gifts, donations, and encouragement. No matter when I am able to come back, its only because you have made it possible for me. Thank you to my sponsors, Wheelbuilder, Mavic, Neogenesis, Spidertech, and Simmons Racing, for helping put together my broken equipment, and the care packages. Thank you to USA Cycling and the US Olympic Committee for being supportive and helpful throughout this whole process.

As the medical bills continue to pile up, my fundraising site was changed from funding for racing, to helping me pay medical expenses. There’s only one day left in my fundraising campaign, but the support I’ve gotten has been life-changing. I don’t know what I’ll use to travel to races, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

For those interested, here is the link to my fundraising campaign, in its final hours:

https://www.pursu.it/pursuit/campaign/97

I entered my 25th year on this planet with a bang, a lot of blood, and some new internal hardware. I guess if this is how it’s starting, I better be ready for what’s coming next.

Riding before surgery on my wrist.
Riding before surgery on my wrist.

That One Time at Track Camp

It wasn’t long ago that Bobby Lea and I were driving through the Chula Vista Olympic Training Center, completing our medical exams for the UCI Bio Passport, where I got an email inviting me to an invite only US Track Sprint Camp in Colorado Springs. And it wasn’t long ago that I was in Colorado Springs at that camp. And now, it wasn’t long ago that I got back to Los Angeles, and I’m preparing to take off on another trip with the US National Team.

Track camp was filled with snow, rain, clouds, a little sunshine, and wind. Lots and lots of wind. It was good to be back in a place that I once called home, to see familiar faces, and to chat with all the para athletes I only get to see a few times a year. The environment of the Olympic Training Center is everything you could ask for. Training in the new strength and conditioning building, paired with the Sports Medicine department is not only convenient, but placed perfectly, so when the leg press machine decided to eject me from it, I could hobble over and get all my little bumps and bruises taken care of immediately.

While we may not have ridden outside for the entire first week of the camp, we had lots of testing to go through, including body comp, 5sec/30sec power, vertical max, and strength testing, for examples. Here’s a video posted by USA Cycling during my watt bike testing…

My very first testing effort on the track was done at 9am on a cold, snowy, windy morning. I asked coach abers multiple times if it would be ok to wear my “poof-y vest” during testing, which was frowned upon, but I did choose to wear it during my individual workouts. As you can see in the photo below, Shelby, Dana and myself were hiding behind the wall on the inside of the track to get out of the wind and cold weather that was moving in.

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The best part about sprint camp was becoming a team. Our group rides turned into dirt bike path, coffee shop, and USA Cycling visiting rides. Our dinner at night became a huge laughter filled family party. And sitting in our dorm rooms became hallway conversations with music and videos.

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My time in Colorado Springs closed with a massive (for a sprinter) ride with Sarah Hammer. When I lived in COS, she would chase me around during standing starts, and it was so fun training with her. It took over 2 hours for my heart rate to come down from 170 bpm at least, and I may have sucked wheels for a majority of the time, but it was so great to get off the grounds of the OTC and get out in the fresh air! I didn’t know where we were going for a majority of the time, but three hours later I was back on the OTC campus, super hungry, and really tired.

2015-04-25 18.00.56Another excited adventure at track camp was FINALLY riding the Dizzy Drome. This tiny sized velodrome, made of dirt, and ridden on with no brakes and BMX bikes is an incredible rush. I had a blast riding around in the dark of night and creating some awesome memories with the other sprint athletes.

So, after two weeks of all the above…it’s back to home. Back to real life for two weeks until I’m off to Europe with 4 other US athletes to compete in some racing in Germany! More updates to come. But the year has already kicked off way before I thought it would!

You can still donate towards my season following this link:

https://www.pursu.it/pursuit/campaign/97

Haters Gonna Hate. And We’re Just Gonna Potate.

Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. Blogs. Websites. Snapchat. Messengers…blah blah blah… Social media. Online Bullying. And haters. Everyday, we put ourselves out there in the hands of someone, anyone, who can say whatever they want. Whether we are changing the color of our hair, or celebrating a goal we’ve accomplished, someone always has something to say to bring you down. It doesn’t matter if it’s a junior national title, an elite national title, a new PR…it’s lonely at the top, and the higher you strive to go, the more the haters feel inclined to speak their minds. They will pick you apart for every little thing that you do. They pretend they know the kind of person you are, they pretend they know your whole story, and the pretend they have some sort of control over you, to influence how you feel about yourself.

So, how do you deal with them? Let me use a personal experience.

I received this message from someone named, “Jenny Dibble” from an IP address within the United States:

“Your “Pusui.it” page reeks of some of the most obnoxious narcissism. It’s like a never ending stream of talking about how great you are without an ounce to back it up. Sure in the USA you can stomp a relatively weak field of competitors, but when you go to compete internationally your too slow to qualify for the sprint tournaments and only medal in B-level events because somebody else gets relegated. Typically when people do fundraising efforts they offer far less narcissistic self-centered kick-backs. All you offer is more things that feature you. A collection of mostly worthless photographs, meaningless speaking engagements and generally absolutely nothing of value to anyone else.

You’re delusional. Get over it. Doesn’t getting crushed by real racers send the message to you? If you actually had something to offer maybe more people would try to help you.”

I started reading this, and naturally I got extremely upset. Then I began to read it closer. Like I stated before, this person thinks they know me, they think they know my story, they think they know what I’m worth, and they think they know what I have to offer. The first reaction I had was to immediately respond to them and defend my “Pusui.it” (“Pursu.it”- spelt the correct way) campaign. But then I realized, this person didn’t even have the guts to enter their correct email address. Also, I don’t owe them any sort of explanation. I don’t need to defend myself against someone I don’t know, who resorts to online “bullying”, if you want to call it that. I don’t need to defend doing what I need to do, to help pursue a dream to represent them, myself, and my sport. I don’t need to defend a program that was set up before I started using it, or the rules of a sport I participate in. I don’t need to defend a result, an injury… No! I don’t know why I’m bothering about this at all.

Haters speak out of jealousy, anger, and spite. I don’t know anything about “Jenny Dibble“, and I’m not about to start digging in on someone I don’t know, criticizing their efforts, their dreams, and I have no motivation to change their opinion. I will say, “You’re delusional. Get over it,” for thinking that I will read your comment and think poorly of myself and what I’ve been able to accomplish. I might shoot for the moon, have high expectations, and want to share my dream with everyone, but that’s also what’s going to make me and all other athletes that do the same great some day. I’m not concerned with the number of people who help me, what I’m concerned with is the quality of people helping me, and doing everything I need to do, to make this a reality. And I have those people, and I am doing those things. By improving every single day, and being the best I can be, that is what this is about. To break barriers that have been left untouched for so long, to create a clearer path for generations to come, and to create momentum and hope for those young athletes…that is what this is about. And, speaking to you, “Jenny Dibble“, I only hope that some day, when your dream or idea needs the support of those around you to make it happen, those that love and care for you show you the same as I have felt from those surrounding me, those that see value in what I/you have to offer, because they have taken the time to know me/you.

For every one hater, I’m sure there’s 10, 20, maybe 100+ more. And that’s great for them, because it means I’m doing something right. Haters, please continue on your path of negative thinking, because I’ve been there, and I know it doesn’t get you very far. As posted on Australian, Macey Stewart’s instagram:

Dear Haters

..because I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing, racing hard, and improving everyday. I’ll keep being surrounded by positive individuals, people who know me, my story, and what I stand for. I’ll keep mentoring the young athletes, running the Lemonade Exchange for athletes who need it, and racing for a limited spot to compete for the country “Jenny Dibble” ‘s  lovely computer resides in.

For everyone else…when haters jump in and speak their “words of wisdom” to you, brush it off. Remember those around you that you turn to for advice, who have never steered you wrong, and the ones that you are with every single day. Move past their negativity, their rude remarks, and do what you believe in your heart is the right thing to do. It’s not the easiest thing to do, but in time, you’ll find it easier to put it in a pile as motivation to prove them wrong.

As athletes, we learn to support one another, because we know the struggles associated with attaining these goals others find to be “delusional“…remember this, especially when you see others asking for help, posting about their successes, and more importantly, their failures. Remember that nothing you do, offer, or stand for is “meaningless”  or “worthless”, especially in the eyes of those you love. Few people in this world actually get to know the real you, and until the rest of the world sees that person, nothing anyone says will reflect the person you really are, or determine what you are capable of.

And for those of you who have been accused of having “obnoxious narcissism”, you’ll find plenty of articles like this one, “Narcissism ‘boosts’ athletes’ performance, study finds“, to let you know, that might not be the worst thing in the world. I’m not so sure about the obnoxious part, but there’s plenty of definitions for that too. 🙂

So, thank you, “Jenny Dibble”, for giving me a great example to share, and for fueling me until the next message comes around. You don’t know me or what I’ve encountered, but I promise these comments aren’t affecting me or anyone you send them to, in the way you are hoping. Maybe in the future you’ll see my, “worthless photographs” in the headline news…what are you going to say then?

In these kick-ass words:

“I had a boyfriend who told me I’d never succeed, never be nominated for a Grammy, never have a hit song, and that he hoped I’d fail. I said to him, ‘Someday, when we’re not together, you won’t be able to order a cup of coffee at the fucking deli without hearing or seeing me.”
― Lady Gaga

So keep potate-ing, everyone! Haters gonna hate! 

982737_700bAnd for anyone who wants to donate in exchange for “worthless photographs, meaningless speaking engagements and generally absolutely nothing of value“, you can follow this link to my Pursu.it page that “reeks of some of the most obnoxious narcissism”, where I hope to continue the journey I have been on, to help better establish a sprint program in the United States, by qualifying for Rio 2016, and helping to turn history around:

https://www.pursu.it/pursuit/campaign/97

Thanks 🙂

-Missy

(Yes, I just linked Taylor Swift).

My First World Championships

I’ve been home for a week now. A week of jet lag and being sick for the 1000th time in the last few months. I just got back from a Personal Gold screening in Scottsdale Arizona, where the Foundation for American Track Cycling had its first big kickoff. As I sat shaking in my chair in front of 200+ people sitting in a theater, I was handed the microphone to answer a question asked by the audience. You would think being at the world championships, sitting in the staging area in those chairs…waiting for my turn to race for that coveted rainbow jersey would be 10x more nerve-racking than sitting in front of 200 people in a theater..but not to me. But I took a deep breath, and I realized how many times I’ve been put under the spotlight, interviewed, or asked uncomfortable questions in the past year, and the nerves started to go away, the words started coming out, and my first big public speaking event went better than I expected. I was introduced as a world cup medalist for the first time, and even with a stuffy nose, I was able to share a little bit about myself, my experience, and my goals with a few complete strangers. It’s crazy to think that just a week ago I was competing in France, where I was the first US sprint female in six years to race the World Championships. I didn’t think I was going to get there, not after the last year I had. But I did make it there, and I couldn’t have imagined what it would do for me.

Track World Championships 2015 Paris - All Rights Reserved

Travis and Brian both looked at me and asked, “Are you nervous?”

“YES! I can’t remember the last time I was this nervous!” I said. And it was true. My heart rate was pumping, my legs were twitching, and I kept digging through my bag for nothing other than keeping myself busy. Then I remembered a clip for the Personal Gold Film I saw last February in LA, and I realized I needed to be still. No sense in wasting my energy doing unnecessary things. I kept telling myself, “just breathe..”.

“Just do what you know how to do…you look good.”

“Yeah…”

Travis went up in the stands, and Brian and I completed my warm up, and then it was time. I rolled over to the bike check on the back straight. We walked up the steps to the track, avoiding the eyes of the crowd staring down at us as the flying 200ms got started. Brian rolled me up on the track, and with the final push, I was on my own. “Here we go..”, I thought. It was all up to me with what happens next. I took to the track for the very first time, at my very first Elite World Championships.

As I rolled around the track, I felt extremely accomplished, but I was also heart-broken. I rode an 11.326. A new sea-level PR for me, a huge improvement from what I saw while riding the world cups, but I knew it wasn’t going to be enough. As the times started coming in, I saw my name go farther and farther down the list, eventually landing in 27th place, .06 seconds out of the tournament. Do you know how little that is? That’s a change in helmet because one is more aero than the other. That’s riding one board lower on the track. That’s a different handlebar or a different hand position. That’s nothing.

“You are right there”,…  that was said to me over and over by many USA staff members. The fastest ride I have done since my back injury, and even though they are right, I said before I left for Paris that I wanted to be in the tournament and I wanted to ride fastest than 11.3. The speed was coming back, the strength was coming back, and I am on the way back up, after over a year of being suppressed by an injury that never got the chance to heal. But…there’s still an empty pit there.

IMG_4502The day after my flying 200m, I had an off day. I met Travis at the track, rode the rollers, watched the men’s flying 200m, and then went back to the hotel. I re-centered myself, after being incredibly disappointed, I realized tomorrow was another day, and I was going to enjoy this experience. Our team dinners were some of the best US team environments I’d been part of. Even though, by the end of the week, Sarah and I were the only two athletes left. I left meals rolling in laughter between the story telling or jokes. I was a great positive environment to be part of, which I think aided in a very stress free environment for not only my first worlds, but I think for everyone else as well. It was easy to make that transition into the new mindset having supportive people around me.

The final morning of the world championships was my keirin. As I said goodbye to my roommate Kim, who was leaving for home, I was relieved that I wouldn’t have to sit in the room alone for very long, since I had a morning session. Brian and I rode through the frozen weather, dodging ice sheets on the bike path and spectators walking to the velodrome to watch that days racing. I was excited. I wasn’t nervous like the morning of the 200m. I was ready to line up and give it everything I had. Before I left the hotel, I posted, “Today marks the end of a very long season, and I’m going to give this keirin everything I have. I’m very thankful to be riding with all of you on my shoulders today”, and I meant every word of it. This was the last race of my season, and I wasn’t going to hold anything back.

My first heat included the 2014 World Champion, Kristina Vogel. Everyone expected her to come around towards the end, and drive it to the front, just like she had done the year before. But she didn’t. I waited too long instead of following my instincts, and ended up placing 4th in the first heat, with Kristina taking 5th right behind me. “What is going on?”, I remember asking myself. No one we expected to make it out of the first heats was making it out. Then I was up for the rep. I rode this one differently, I was more in control, I rode with confidence, and I rode my own race. And I missed advancing by .05 seconds, taking 2nd. I was smashed. Even though this put me in 13th place, like the flying 200m, I wanted more. I had bigger goals and bigger expectations, and they did not involve not advancing.

Track World Championships 2015 Paris - All Rights ReservedWhen I sat down after coming off the track, I was a bit overcome with emotion. The year was done. I had made it. But I was so pissed off, and disappointed. I wanted to make it through. I had pushed myself so hard over the past few months to make this happen. I was congratulated by the few USA team members and staff that were still at the track, and that meant the world to me, but there is no one who can motivate or encourage me more than myself, and at that moment, I was crushed. My 2014/2015 season was over, it was time to take off the star stamped skin suit, pack the bikes up, and get ready to head home.

As unhappy as I was with my performance, I was also incredibly motivated. I proved to myself and others this year that I can compete, and I can perform at this level. I’ve comeback from my injury, I’ve learned to deal with the pain of it, and I’ve accepted that it will probably always be there. But, I can still train and perform at this level, and I can be competitive at this level. When I met Chris Hoy at the London World Cup, he said to me how impressive it was that I was starting my very first world cups during Olympic qualifying. And that is something that has stuck with me, and will continue too. No matter what level I am expected to rise too, I will rise to it. I’m welcoming my three-year anniversary of becoming a track sprint athlete, and by doing so, I’ll be putting my head down with new goals, and a new direction. I’ve realized that you can’t be perfect every day, but I can be perfect when it really counts. Instead of focusing my season on being the best US athlete at every single event, I’m going to be the best when it counts, at the events that are going to qualify the first US female sprint athlete since 2008.

I wouldn’t have gotten to the worlds without my determination and perseverance. But I also wouldn’t have gotten there without my sponsors and supporters…starting with the man at home who knows exactly how hard I am on myself..Andy, Momentum Coaching Group and coach Travis, Atomic High Performance, Vie 13 Kustom Apparel, Recovery Pump, Spidertech Tape, Pyatt/Broadmark Management LLC, Coastherapy, ERO, Performance Fitness Concepts, Oakley, USA Cycling, USOC, the Koroibos Foundation, and now, where this blog started, the Foundation for American Track Cycling.

So, as I sat in that chair in front of 200+ people at the Personal Gold screening, I thought back to all the situations I have been in where I have been tested and put outside my comfort zone, and I felt confident sitting in that chair in my little black dress. As I sat there with the microphone in my hand, my breathing steadied, I stopped shaking, I laughed a little bit, and I enjoyed the moment to support a Foundation that has dedicated itself to helping me and the future of US track cycling.

11035462_617784688355459_5484404252743107884_nYou might ask, “What’s next?”. Well, my race schedule has pretty much been established already. My training will be built around that when I get rid of this illness that’s been holding a steady black cloud over me since the London World Cup, and it’s time to refocus onto a new season. Thanks to the donations that have been given, I’ve been able to purchase some new training tools and equipment that are going to help me continue the progress I’ve made over these past few months. I have a new-found motivation after coming back from worlds, with the help of a great team atmosphere, and encouragement from places I never thought I would get it. We’re already half way through the Olympic qualifying, and next year is going to be even more critical. It’s time to make it happen!

Thanks for following and thanks for supporting.

-Missy

TV Time, Personal Gold Film, and Track Worlds!

2015-01-21 08.10.40Quite a bit happened very quickly after I returned from the world cup in Cali. For a few weeks, I’ve had plans with KSTP – TV out of Minneapolis, who had interest in coming to do a story with me. They also traveled down to San Diego to cover Alise Post, the 2012 London Olympian in BMX, who grew up in Saint Cloud, Minnesota…just 45 minutes away from my hometown of Alexandria. Although I sounded like a frog and was still stuffed up from my cold, Todd asked me some great questions, and I was happy to talk with him after his long trip to LA from Minnesota. Having a medal to show off made it all just a little more exciting too. 🙂 For those of you wondering when you can watch it, it’ll air on KSTP – TV from Minneapolis, sometime in February!

 

1601429_401211593379896_7244354699853328018_nNext up…the Personal Gold Film, in Scottsdale! I’m very honored to be selected to speak at the showing of this film. It’s an incredible story full of inspiration and determination of the human spirit. The women shown in the film are true role models and inspire me to this day. I can’t wait to watch the film again, and I’m nervous/excited to be in front of 200+ people and share my love for the sport. Thank you to the Foundation for American Track Cycling for bringing this film to Scottsdale, and I can’t wait to hang out with fellow speaker and training partner, Nate Koch!

For more information about tickets, visit : http://www.personal-gold.com/feb28/ . I would love to see some familiar faces there to share in some story telling! Limited seating available!

And last but not least, I’m very excited to be heading to Paris with Team USA for the UCI Track World Championships! This is my very first world championships! I’ve never been to junior worlds, or anything else of this caliber, so I’m really excited! As I said on Facebook, “This is what I’ve been building and training for, and even though I’ve taken a lot more detours than we planned, I’ve found myself here still 🙂 Thanks for all the support all year! Time to go to Paris!!!”

The team is:
Men’s roster
Matt Baranoski (Perkasie, Pa./Custom Velo): keirin*
Jacob Duehring (Irvine, Calif./GS Ciao): omnium
Bobby Lea (Mertztown, Pa./Custom Velo): individual pursuit*; scratch race
Nick Rogers (Philadelphia, Pa./QCW Breakawaybikes.com p/b Felt Bicycles-JLVelo): points race

Women’s roster
Missy Erickson (Alexandria, Minn./Momentum Coaching Group p/b Atomic-Momentum Coaching Group): keirin*; sprint
Kim Geist (Emmaus, Pa./Chester County Cycling Foundation-Team Alliance Environmental): points race; scratch race
Sarah Hammer (Temecula, Calif./TWENTY16 p/b SHO-AIR): omnium*; individual pursuit*; team pursuit
Carmen Small (Durango, Colo./Team TWENTY16 p/b SHO-AIR): team pursuit
Lauren Tamayo (Asheville, N.C./ UCI PCT/WPT: UnitedHealthcare): team pursuit
Jennifer Valente (San Diego, Calif./TWENTY16 p/b SHO-AIR): team pursuit
Ruth Winder (Lafayette, Calif./UCI PCT/WPT: UnitedHealthcare): team pursuit

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Cali World Cup : Bringing Home Bronze

The week leading into the world cup, I was on fire! Putting in some huge efforts on the track, with some serious speed, and finally having some weeks of unbroken training, and just making the sessions happen. Andy made a cool video of my last few sessions before leaving for Colombia, where I even rode a 9.8 flying 200m, with a 100m motor drop off. Pretty insane feeling those speeds, but the boys do it all the time on their own now!

A couple of days before leaving for Cali, I caught the bug that’s been floating around. My addiction to Starbucks failed me, as I was doing so well until the Barista in San Pedro came to work looking worse than I’ve felt this entire time. As she coughed into my drink, I kindly took it, but tossed it in the trash on the way out of the door. But I think the damage had already been done. The worst part about flying with a cold is the pressure I get behind my ears. I remember as kid, the first time I flew, I was crying and screaming all the way to Mexico, when I couldn’t pop my ears. My parents would give me gum to try to help, but usually, it didn’t make much of a difference. At least I’ve grown up enough now that I’m not screaming and throwing a tantrum on a plane full of people. 😉

We were pretty fortunate as a team overall, since we were one of the only teams to actually receive all of our bags and bikes on the flight we arrived on. It was a pretty long travel day, but in comparison to the travel to London, I was pretty thankful to have some extra days, and an extremely smaller time zone difference.

Here’s a photo from Beth Newell’s Instagram feed after we all got on the bus, waiting to be taken to the hotel in Colombia. (You can follow her at @_bethbikes)

19hr travel day and @usacycling squad is all smiles! Excited to race #caliworldcup #hotbus #hurryupgermanbeefcakes

A post shared by Beth Hernandez (@_bethbikes) on

Once we were settled in Colombia, my #1 objective was to get the head/chest cold under control, and adjust my training plan to help with recovery. The first day we went to the track, I just rode easy for 20 minutes. First impressions of the track : so smooth, tiny boards, tight turns, and fresh air. Sarah Hammer told me this track was incredible, and that wasn’t a lie. The wind was pretty ferocious the first day or so. Some tarps hanging down towards the track smacked into a few riders, and made the most terrifying noise…I think they were there to catch and direct rain leaking from the roof…but I didn’t investigate to find out.

Training rolled along. I wasn’t feeling great leading into the races, but I knew that would come as my body adjusted and relaxed into the week. It was pretty crazy walking around having a lot of media interviewing riders, staff, and taking photos. A lot of attention was drawn towards the blonde and fair-skinned athletes, such as myself, or riders from Ireland and Australia. I remember being asked in one interview if I thought being “pretty” was more important than a result at these events as a female cyclist, and I can definitely tell you they were given a firm “NO” with my response. Between all the posters and signs around the city, and the hype inside the velodrome, you’d think I would have been a little more prepared for the crowd I was going to witness during the days and nights to come. But I was completely wrong. It was packed, loud, and crazy. London was loud, but only for their British riders. Cali was loud, for EVERYONE.

10887605_792734474096337_4108045863692817282_oBy the time racing began on Friday, I had managed to handle my illness well. I knew the right amount of warm up to get the mucus moving and out before it was race time, and the coughing was suppressed to only in the morning and evening. The nice thing about sprinting is you don’t have to breathe all that much. A few deep breaths, and you’re good to go. I had high hopes for my start during our team sprint. I knew I was capable of setting a new PR and a great time, as I’d been flying in training beforehand. After warm up, my bike was taken to bike check and I walked up to the line. We were the second heat, and as I sat in the chair next to my partner, I was excited! We were up next….Andy Sparks put my bike in the start gate, and that’s when the bubble popped. As I looked down at my bike, all I saw was “Jen Valente” written across my seatpost….”Umm….this isn’t my bike!” I said…. Well, it was my bike, it just wasn’t my saddle or seat topper. All Felt Tk1 owners know the “seat topper” situation on these bikes… the whole setback/height/saddle is one solid piece, which makes it incredibly easy when packing your bike, as you don’t have to worry about any positions changing, you can just pick it straight out of the frame, and drop it back in. But what is really hard to adjust is getting your saddle level. In this case, when the mechanics brought my bike over to bike check, the officials decided my saddle was tipped 1 degree downward beyond the legal limit. Our Team USA mechanics attempted to change the angle but had no success in pleasing the official. In a last-minute decision, they took my seat topper off the bike, and threw Jen Valente’s on…. and with the few seconds they had with us being the second heat of women’s team sprint on the track…that’s all they could do. Although the shock of me staring down at my bike while getting in the gate and seeing someone else’s name on my bike was a bit much, as they explained with me strapping in, I understood, and I knew regardless, I had to give it 100%. I felt really good during our ride. I came out of the gate clean, powered through the tight turn, and when I sat down, the first thing I thought was, “Oh what?!“. Jen and I clearly have a very different riding style, and taste in saddles for that matter. The position was all sorts of wrong. But I just held onto it as long as I could, and pulled up as fast as I could. I crossed the line disappointed, and I was a little angry. I didn’t understand what had happened, but I knew there had to have been some sort of explanation, and there was. The ridiculous part of this was immediately after our ride, our mechanics put my bike back together, 100%, without changing anything, and as they placed it on the jig, the officials said my bike passed….wtf? Vince and Will were flawless the rest of the week, and I’m just happy they are as cool-headed as they are and we were able to find at least something legal for me to sit on.

IMG_9576Saturday was sprint day. Going into this, I knew I had to qualify if I wanted to solidify my own individual spot at the world championships in the individual sprint. But I also knew that I would ride to the best of my ability, and the rest would come as it was. I rode an 11.6, which is a huge improvement from London, as most of the women seemed to pull times comparable (except for the flying Monique Sullivan dropping down a 11.0! Holy smokes! 😉 ). I knocked three tenths off my time from London. It wasn’t super breezy, but there was a bit of wind coming through the track. I’m not satisfied with that time, and I know I have some work to do as I train towards the world championships, but it was good enough to qualify me into the tournament in 24th place. I was a bit relieved, as I’d done what I needed to do, but I also realized the task ahead…racing the 1/16th final against the #1 qualified Dutch rider Elis Ligtlee, who rode a 10.8. Prior to the ride, we threw around a few jokes about the size difference between her and I. Being Dutch, she’s a tall girl. Racing in Ttown this past summer, I followed behind her in a keirin round once, and I literally could have ridden right underneath her straight to the motor if I needed too….I think her saddle would probably be resting at my shoulder if I stood next to her bike! But all jokes aside, this was going to be a tough ride. I went in with a mentality that she isn’t unbeatable, because none of us are. And I came out of it with a much closer ride than anyone expected. Elis didn’t expect me to come down the home straight with the speed that I did, and we crossed the line with just .019 seconds separating us. She won. I was knocked out. But I was clever and I kept pushing and I never gave up. It was my first world cup sprint tournament! Big steps forward, and a qualification for worlds was on the table. After the debacle in the team sprint the day before, I was really pleased to hear that my bike, once again, made it through bike check just fine, and my bum has happy to have my own saddle back!

10937477_1043830775632818_1573578877_nThe final day was the keirin. My favorite event. What happened on this day, was not something far-fetched. It’s something everyone who has been involved in my training since day one knew I was capable of, and it’s something I had been dreaming of accomplishing. I thought I would have taken a few steps before I made it onto the podium at a world cup, but my moment showed up on this day. I didn’t make it through the first round. I think I was 4th in that…it was really strange…when the motor bike pulled off, girls were randomly going in all sorts of directions. When I finished the ride, I had to ask Brian why one of the girls just pulled up track for no reason…and neither of us could come up with any sort of explanation for it…and it also seemed at that point, that someone put the brakes on…regardless. maybe I wasn’t mentally prepared for it, but I didn’t go through and I was in the rep rounds. But I won my rep! What an amazing feeling, to know that I was onto the second round. This was incredibly important, especially since riders from Canada, Colombia, and Cuba (all pan-am countries), were moving through as well. I had an incredible ride in the second round. I followed my gut before I even thought twice about it, and went for it. A longer sprint than normal, but I actually came away to win the second round! And it started to rain during our ride as well. While we were rolling around the bottom of the track during the first few laps, I thought the girl in front of me was sweating and it was blowing on me (gross!), but it was actually rain from outside. Immediately after our ride, the power shut down in the velodrome due to the storm, and racing was delayed. As I came around the track and grabbed Brian’s hand to get off my bike, Viggo walked towards me with open arms and said in the most proud way, “You were incredible!” He gave me a huge hug and we all walked back to the pit together. It was an amazing feeling having such a strong support team there. I couldn’t have been more ecstatic to make it into my first world cup 1-6 final. I was definitely running on a high! Once the lights came back on, the lightning died down, and the rain stopped, the track was dry and we were back to racing.

The final was a bit crazy. There’s a lot of misconceptions about when Guo was relegated. She didn’t actually cause the crash that happened with one lap to go. That was caused by a number of things. During the ride, I saw the three riders coming together, which is why I pulled up and out of the lane, which ended up being a really good decision. I was able to avoid the crash, but in the midst of it, pushing hard to slow down and avoid, then reaccelerate, cost me a bit of time, and all riders were able to pull away, I tried to drill it as hard as I could, and I made up some ground….coming down the home straight, this is where Guo collided and entered the sprint lane on her Chinese teammate, to which she was relegated, and I ended up taking the bronze medal. Despite all the chat about the other girls not being happy on the podium…I can tell you they were just as happy to be up there as I was. We all congratulated each other with smiles and were happy. Just because one photo posted shows them without a smile doesn’t mean they weren’t feeling the same. It’s great being on the podium with familiar faces, and people who are proud to represent their countries.

I felt really good this day. I woke up with a terrible migraine, but as racing went on, I think my adrenaline and endorphins were kicking in and I didn’t think about it twice. I was rushed up on stage by one of the race officials, who came over to say, “Put your trainers on, you’re going on stage, hurry up!”, before I even knew there was a relegation and I was getting a medal. Brian and the other members of team USA who were present could not have been more excited for me, as we had a few smiles, hugs, and laughs, and I was rushed over to the chairs for the podium.

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 12.00.11 AMIt wasn’t until that evening that it was brought my attention that this was the first female sprint medal in over 6 years. I’ve only started this journey less than three years ago, and I feel incredibly blessed that I got to stand in that position and bring home a medal. It was an incredible feeling watching the USA flag being raised, and I’m proud to be part of a team that brought home three medals.

I’m really glad to have saved all my international data for this day. My dad decided I needed some way of communication since I was going to Colombia, so he purchased me a small amount to add to my plan. The support from home during my keirin was amazing. I got so many messages, they are still coming through now! The live feed made it possible for so many of you to watch me race, and when I got back to the hotel I couldn’t believe all the photos, videos, snapchats, texts, etc etc that came through of all you so excited for me!! It was such a rush!

I was then drug tested, for the second time since the start of the new year. Karissa, our trusted logistics director, got to experience her very first drug test protocol while being my chaperone, and I once again, did a record fast job of getting us in and out ASAP.

From the 7am wake up to the 9:30pm arrival back to the hotel, I still had to eat dinner, and by that time, it was 11pm and they locked us out of the hot tub. We had a 1:30am shuttle pick up to take us to the airport, where the 3 hours of anxiety filled “where is my bike!?” emotions ran through everyone’s veins, until the 6am flight. I pulled through a solid 36 hours of no more than 2 hours of sleep, until I was safely on the ground in LA with all bags and bikes in hand. The flight back home exacerbated my cold 100%, so now it’s back to the drawing board of getting healthy and ready for the world championships in just shy of four weeks!

I am happy to be home, back in non-co-ed bathrooms…I’m not sure I’ll miss the reactions of walking into the one bathroom to see bare ass naked men walking around between showers and toilets, or even the occasional opening of the stall to find two police officers smiling at me, asking to take a photo… Although Cali is going to be a place I’m never going to forget.

Thank you to USA Cycling, Atomic High Performance, Vie13 Kustom Apparel, Coastherapy, ERO, RecoveryPump, Spidertech, Oakley, Osmo Nutrition, GoPro, and the USOC. Thank you to my friends and family, to everyone who has supported me and backed me throughout my injury. It’s been a long year, but the old missy is starting to come back!

Vous voir bientôt, Paris!

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46,707 Miles of 2014

Twenty-fourteen. Tomorrow it’s in the past, and a new year is before us. I’ll continue writing “2014” on all my rent checks, probably until about May, once again. And damn, the Rio Games are just over a year away…EEEKKK. When I look back at what I’ve done this year, man…it’s been pretty unbelievable. Take this list for example:

46,707 airline miles flown.
5 countries, 6 US states.
2 US National Team trips.
2 Elite National Championships Titles.
9 Gold Medals.
5 Silver Medals.
2 Bronze Medals.
Unofficial fastest US woman second lap in team sprint.
2nd fastest US woman ever in flying 200m.
2nd US woman ever under 11 seconds in flying 200m.
Still hold US Women’s Team Sprint National Record.
Still hold Women’s Team Sprint Track Record at Marymoor.

Went Skydiving.
Watched my brother graduate from the US Marine Corp boot camp.
Traveled to New York City for the first time.
Saw the Statue of Liberty.
Caught my first salt water fish in the ocean at night.
Flew my first solo international trip.
Ate fish eyeballs.
Ate real Japanese sushi at the real Japanese Fish Market in Tokyo.
Stood on the ground of the London 2012 Olympic village and stadium.
Touched Sir Chris Hoy, had a conversation, and got a photo.
Saw real double-decker busses.
Adopted a stray dog, a 9.5 year old, epileptic husky.
Lived in California for an entire 365+ days.
Started a junior women’s mentorship program.
Started the Lemonade Exchange.
Held a Junior Women’s Track Camp Day.

This is a very good description of how 2014 went…

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…but that’s all part of life. I am no stranger to dark times, depression, or hopeless feelings, but I’m also no stranger to the sunshine it brings, and the strength I rise out of it with. For 365 days in the year 2014, I’ve had a back injury that won’t leave me alone. It took 11/12 months this year for the fracture to heal, but despite that, just look at that list above….how incredible?!! Each up and down, twist and turn…it’s brought me where I am today. There’s always a way to fix things, and there’s always a new door that opens up.

I feel blessed and honored to have the opportunities I have had, and do have. I have memories that will stay with me forever, and made friends I’ll have for a lifetime. I’ve pushed myself harder, beat a lot of odds, and I’m still standing here today. 🙂 I want to thank my family, my friends, my incredibly supportive other half, my three amazing dogs, my sponsors (Atomic High Performance, Vie13 Kustom Apparel, Coastherapy, RecoveryPump, Spidertech, Oakley, Osmo Nutrition, Pyatt/Broadmark, Momentum Coaching Group, and GoPro), my coaches, and my support team in LA/PA/USA. Thanks to the USOC and USAC for the funding support I have received, and the opportunities they have provided. Thanks to the people who follow me on a daily basis and offer their words of support, especially those who have the patience and understanding regarding the injury I have. Thanks to those who appreciate honestly, especially when that’s what I aim to write. I always try to give an athletes point of view, my personal experiences, and the emotions associated. I’m often told my history deserves to be documented in a book, and maybe someday it will, but for now, I like to believe it is nowhere near completed.

I have no doubts 2015 will present it’s challenges and it’s triumphs. Such is life, right? Each day we learn more and more to roll with the punches, and celebrate the small successes. We never know what the future may hold, but we always have a choice in the decisions that we make because of it.

I’m embracing the start of a new year, and I’m welcoming the greatness it has in store for me. Each day is a learning opportunity, and a test of character, beliefs and values. No matter which direction my life goes in, I’m confident in my strength to stand true to what I believe in, and I’m confident in my commitment and work ethic to get me wherever I choose to go. Whether my life chooses to continue down a path in cycling, or school, or a career…these are my resolutions..

…to not be of talk, but of action. In my mentorship program, in the lemonade exchange, and in life.
…to report abuse when I see it. To stop it before it begins, and to be an advocate for programs like SafeSport.
…to lead by example. “Worry not that your child listens to you; worry most that they watch you.
…to put my health first.
…to worry about my future, not the future immediately in front of me.
…to not be fearful of what might come. But be accepting of what I can control.
…to stay true to myself and what I believe.
…to do what I love, and leave the rest behind.
…to be the best version of “Missy” I can be.

Thank you for reading, as always. And Happy New Year to each and everyone of you 🙂