A few days before Travis and I left for Moscow, I wrote a blog post for Momentum Coaching Group, explaining what the purpose of going to Moscow was, what my goals were, and the reasoning and training behind coming here. It was a quick decision, with only a couple weeks to prepare, and it was a very important one. Instead of waiting the entire season, hoping to peak with perfect weather, for an event in the US with hopes of hitting a time standard, I wanted to go to a track, peak, and get it over with. My goals are beyond just “being fast enough”, and having the security of knowing that my future is not completely in the air is more comforting to me, than playing the guessing game and leaving it up to chance.
Long story short, we did it. I rode an 11.144 at an indoor sea level velodrome, meeting the standard set at 11.321 (To see the video, scroll to the bottom of this post). What does this mean? Well, according to USAC, they will now provide international training and racing opportunities at the World Cycling Center in Aigle, Switzerland, from September 2014 through February 2015. I’ll also have the opportunity to race in European Grand Prix events, and the UCI World Cups throughout the 2014/2015 UCI track season. With a cap of two women allowed in this program, I’m glad to say I am the first. What I am the most excited for is gaining international racing experience. It’s no surprise that racing in Europe, Aisa, South America, etc, is completely different than the US. I don’t know how I can stress that enough. It’s what I’m in desperate need of. I may have made the time standard, but nowhere in America do we ride 3-4 ups in the first rounds of match sprints, or do we have sprint rounds that are tactically ridden in the first round of a sprint tournament. As I lined up for my first sprint, I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I would be. I was incredibly relieved to have hit the standard, and honestly, I had a complete energy release. I was a tight wound up ball beforehand, and after, I was able to let it go. I had done what I needed to do, and the rest was just fun, racing experience, and moving on.
I am so hard on myself. Travis, Andy, and anyone directly involved in my training and life in general will agree to that. I want to win everything, be the best at everything, and when it doesn’t happen, I want to know exactly why. I’ve been in this world since 2012, had my first international race in Mexico in 2013, and now, in early 2014, I’m expecting myself to be on the podium against olympic and world champions. It’s what USAC expects of me, it’s what I want for myself. The reality is, the current world champion in sprint has been racing for 9 years, and just won her first jersey. It takes time, and it’s not going to happen overnight for me. It’ll happen after repetition, racing experience, and getting my butt kicked a bunch. I gave the sprints the best run I had, I might have been feeling really disconnected, but I fought as hard as I could in the rep to get back in, and made a 10.8 sprinter dig harder than she probably thought she had too.
I have a lot of work left to do before I even think about being a world champion. Not only am I one of the smallest sprinters here, but I’m also one of the least experienced. Telling other riders/coaches I’ve been riding for two years results in an, “Oh really?! wow”. I might not be making a final, but I hope it speaks for how much I’m willing to give to make my dream happen. I’m incredibly thankful for Travis taking the time out of his life to be here, completely bored, and as he says, “I’m getting fat”. Now he understands why Ben Sharp would always bring a bike to these events with him. We came here, with our own funding, on our own time, using our own resources, to make sure that my future is at least semi-predicted.
So, as frustrated as I am, and as happy as I am, and as relieved as I am…I’m ready to get back to training. I still have two days of racing to go, but I know how much strength and power I am lacking. Studying race videos is one thing, but being in the race, making the moves, and making those quick decisions is another. Everything moves faster here. There is no time to think, there is only a reaction. I made a good move in the rep round, but I made mistakes after that which cost me. I’m looking forward to the international racing opportunities that I now have access too.
The number of messages I was sent before my 200m, before going on this trip, and throughout my whole mission after the sprint program was cut is why I’m still here. I just rode one of the fastest times a US woman has ever ridden, and quite possibly the fastest at sea level. I thank each and every one of you, for reading, supporting, sharing your stories and words of advice…it all means the world. Momentum Coaching Group and I are making it happen, and I couldn’t be more thankful. Like I said, there’s a long way to go, but I’ve got the right people accelerating me in the right direction.
But I have a 500m to prepare for. I’m proud to wear the US National Champion stripes on my back in a foreign country, ride for Momentum Coaching Group p/b Atomic High Performance, and hopefully pull off another personal best. So sleep soundly, America. I’m happy to be back in the National program again…