Walking into the track was incredible. Sure, it wasn’t all decorated up, and it wasn’t a world cup. It didn’t have stands, a big jumbo-tron, or a loud-speaker system. But to me, that didn’t matter. This was all new. My first international race, my first time racing at CNAR, my first USADA test, my first time racing in the US kit, my first Pan Am championships…it was a whole ton of firsts. It took me until 7 hours prior to my first event, the 500m, to get nervous. Sitting in the hotel room until 3pm seemed like an eternity. But once things started rolling, and racing was in full swing, things went great.
Still on my borrowed Felt Tk1 frame from Tara McCormick, I took on the 500m, team sprint, match sprints, and keirin. For the first time, I felt like I belonged there. I felt like I deserved to be there, but I also felt like I had a lot to prove. And that’s what I set out to do. As I told Cyclist Illustrated, “I exceeded a lot of people’s expectations. I’m very proud of how I raced” (Click here for article).
I love racing. There’s so much I have to learn, so much speed I need to get, so many tactics I don’t yet understand. But the racing was unforgettable. It was nice to get out of the US and experience other racers, and have some fun, and try some new things. I rode with the instincts I had, I made a ton of mistakes, but it’s also important for me to make them, so I can learn from them, and grow, and get better.
My 500m start wasn’t very strong. When I sat down I smacked my knee on my bars. I didn’t have a very straight line, I was all over the place. Our qualifying ride for the team sprint was bad. I never got on, my gear was too big, I was scared. Our second ride was good, we set a new US National Record. Not many people can say that on their first international journey. My flying 200 was like a snail winding up. Nobody should negative split their flying 200. My match sprinting skills are seriously lacking, we’ll just put it that way. As Kevin says, I have bigger balls than him in a keirin. I love that race, but I need to get stronger, and faster. Like everyone else wants to become.
This was the first trip, and it’s not going to be the last. My story just started. It’s been 8.5 months in the making, and I’m just going to get better from here on out. I got my first taste, and I’m not satisfied. I’ll be back.
And what can I say? I miss all my favorite sprint people! Maddie, Nate, Matt, Travis, Jamie…..(I live with Kevin, so he doesn’t count). It’s like going to summer camp as a kid and then coming home. Maddie is back in CO, and we’re all sprawled out across the states…until we meet again…
For now, I have some time off, time to recollect myself, get back to work, make up for being gone, and relax. I’m enjoying my junk food, eating some ice cream, and looking forward to getting back on the bike in a few weeks. And I’m pretty excited to start racing again.
(And for those who weren’t there, here’s all the racing in a nut-shell)