It’s been rather gloomy in Durango lately. Too much rain and not enough sunshine to get me out of bed. On top of that, our coffee maker broke a few days ago, leaving my caffeine addiction to hit a withdrawal stage, as I am much too poor to go out and buy a $2 cup of coffee. I am now 2 weeks into the first semester of my senior year, and it doesn’t feel any different. It’s amazing that I will be done with my undergraduate degree in 229 days, but what also is amazing is that we have collegiate track nationals in less than a week. The FLC team is leaving Tuesday morning to fly out to Indy. Even though I’m really the only “trackie” FLC has, this is a big deal for me. Something you look forward to every season. I just hope my teammates will share the enthusiasm that I do when they go off to mountain bike nationals every year.
Last year at this time I was suffering from an extreme case of anemia, and going into collegiate nationals I was tired, exhausted, but I still did my best, and what I could at the time. I have bigger goals going into it, and have taken steps to ensure that my body is healthy and well. The stress of school is enough for an athlete to be thrown off, but that is also part of the challenge of it being collegiate nationals. Others take it for granted, putting collegiates on a lower scale than other national championships. That’s ridiculous. We still train, we stay up late, we go to class, we have jobs, we travel, we don’t have “team issue bikes”, we starve to pay for a new tire…..I know… “It’s all part of bike racing.” And you are right. This is something that I would be proud to be, a collegiate national champion. I’ve never won a national championship before. Sure, I’ve been 2nd…I’ve been 2nd a lot. My parents have a proud selection of silver medals hanging around. But being a collegiate national champion represents my school, durango, myself, my family, my coaches, and everyone who has taken their time to be part of my journey. A collegiate national champion represents more than an elite, junior, or U23 national champion…there’s more riding on it.
It’s hard for me to believe that 3 years ago was the first time I had ever been on a track bike, and here I am, from freshman to senior, and this is the thing I absolutely love doing. I feel very fortunate that Fort Lewis College takes such great care of us as a club, allowing us to take a full team to nationals, composed of 4 girls and 6 guys. I know not every collegiate cyclist can attend due to the high costs and low funding. Not only has fort lewis given me a great education, but they have opened up so many doors for me as an athlete, and I will forever be thankful for these opportunities.
I want to give a shout out to Ben Stalker from the Service Cycle for getting my bike and wheels dialed in for nationals. Hands down the best. I wouldn’t trust my stuff in any other shops hands. I’m also very thankful for Mark Tyson, who will be coming out to collegiates to supervise and help me along my way of achieving some of my goals. I’ve already thanked FLC in this enough, so I’ll move onto our Track coach and also my roommate, Ian Burnett. Rallying up 12 college kids on a weekend is hard enough without adding bikes and a velodrome on top of it.
With that, I’m going to go ride, and then study, and take a test, and then maybe…maybe…I’ll tye-dye some shirts. Just because. I’m feeling creative.