Nature Valley Day 1: Stages 1 and 2

Well, this has been an incredible learning experience, and it’s only day number one. Instead of giving you a whole recap, I’ve decided to list the things I’ve learned, and keep the mindset positive.

1. I underestimated myself in the time trial.
2. I CAN ride in the front of a crit.
3. I need to defend my position and stick with it.
4. Never, ever, ever get in the last 1/2 of the race in the crit.
5. Stop being so hard on myself.
6. Collegiate cycling is nothing like NVGP stages.
7. Crashes happen. A lot of crashes happen.
8. It’s time to step it up.
9. I need to believe I can do it, or it’s not going to happen.

Some of them are completely mental. Some are just a matter of the way things are. Either way, this is my first pro experience. Yesterday seemed like the longest day in the world. The time trial in the morning, and the crit in the evening…it makes for a long day. BUT, I made it through day 1, and I have 5 other days available.

So, what are the goals of this? To finish this entire stage race. To race hard every day and do my best. That’s all I can really ask for. This race has really made me think. I’m racing with olympic, world, and national champions. People who have so much experience compared to me. It’s hard to keep this in mind when you are strung out in a single file line, trying to keep yourself together for the wet brick right hand turn that is coming up. But somehow, you do it. And as much as it hurts, it’s what you want to do. I know it doesn’t make sense, and sounds crazy. But we ride bikes, so we are a little crazy. Do I want to do this? Oh yeah. Not a doubt in my mind. But, I need to race more. I need to suffer, and lose, and get cut, and crash, and maybe win once or twice, to really understand what this is all about.

I know all this, in my head, and this is more of me thinking out loud on ..well, a blog, but at the same time, for those people who don’t ride, and who don’t understand why I’m in 79th place overall GC, this is what it takes. The way I see it, this is race #1. Tyson told me it takes 1,000 standing starts to really understand and do it properly consistently. If this is true, it will take me way more than 1 day to understand and be prepared for a professional stage race with olympic, world, and national champions.

The ticket is to remember this today, while I’m racing, when I’m suffering for 60+ miles. But everyone has been there. And I’m just starting.


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