Today, as we all know, is thanksgiving. It’s the end of my 2013 cycling season, and a day that means a little more to me this year than any year before. Between the generous donations that I have received, the help getting my new track bike, and so on and so forth…my life has been blessed beyond anything I could have imagined, and I could not be more thankful for that.
The LA Grand Prix was a turning point for me. After riding a U.S. Women’s Team Pursuit camp in Colorado Springs, prior to moving back to LA, I was torn between what I wanted to pursue. I wanted to give sprinting one more go, and see if I enjoyed it as much as I did at the beginning of my chase for Rio 2016. And what I found at the GP was beyond my expectations. I went in hurt, not on top of my game, but relaxed and willing to learn. I knew the competition was going to be tough, but I also knew that I was in a completely different place than I ever have been, mentally. The mind is a powerful thing. I can be your worst enemy and your best friend. You can be the fastest person in the world, but if you aren’t prepared for the challenges set ahead, you might as well not even line up at the start.
Friday morning we had the team sprint qualifiers. Tela Crane and I rolled up as the “Mixed 3” team. Neither of us are quite sure where that name came from, but regardless, we qualified 1st, knocking down the US National Team, OSPKN, and Mexican National Team. With the quickest qualifying time, we got the advantage of starting on the home straight during the finals that night, and came away with the win, yet again. Starting the weekend off with a new jersey to add to the collection was just the reassurance I needed that my injuries were not going to set me back this weekend, only my mind was.
Saturday morning we had the 200m qualifiers. As the top ranked female sprinter, I was given the advantage to ride last in the line up. I rode an 11.71, which got me into 3rd, as the top American, and .1 behind the leader. I was confident, and it showed in my riding. I was proud to be able to race for those who came to watch me in the crowd, and I fed off that energy, rolling through the semi’s in two rides, and into the final. My goal was to learn. Match sprinting has been my least favorite in the past, but it’s also necessary as a sprinter. I wasn’t expecting to make it to the gold final, but I was more than happy to be there. I ended up taking silver, but with great pride and happiness.
Sunday: Keirin day. My favorite day. My weekend up to this point was phenomenal. I was on a high. I’d never done so well at match sprints, or felt as well as I was going, but I really wanted this win. I didn’t just want to float through the first round, I wanted to win it. I wanted to win everything. And I did. Visualization has always been a big part of my athletic career, but when everything falls into place, and just how you see something plays out, it’s an amazing experience. Straight down to raising my hands at the end of the race, that’s how I saw it. With my family watching the live feed on universalsports.com, I wanted to show them all my hard work and sacrifices were paying off. Knowing they were watching me was extra motivating too.
One week before the race, I wasn’t signed up, and I wasn’t sure if I was actually going to do it. But I decided an opportunity to learn and race some fast women was better than sitting in the stands. And I’m so glad I did it. It helped me find my love for sprinting again, it changed my view and opened my eyes. It made me want to get that much faster and make it to the next level.
This thanksgiving I am thankful for all the people who donated to help me get my track bike, for the people who donated money to fund my racing season this summer, for USA Cycling and their funding for me to train at the Olympic Training Center, race internationally, and continue to train everyday here in California. I am thankful for my training partners, my coach, and the amazing training facility I have. I am thankful to my sponsors: Atomic High Performance, Felt Bicycles, CNP Performance, and DzNuts. I’m thankful for my ability to live the life I do, to have a family and friends that support me in my Olympic dream, and to have found my love for track. My life is blessed beyond anything I could have imagined, and I’m in love with where it is going.
Thank you for helping me chase this dream, and for making my dreams come true. I’m honored to be the 2013 National Track Calendar Sprint Champion, along with all the other titles I have earned this year. Now, it’s time to focus on new PRS, new training, and the 2014 season.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone 🙂