“Your mother and I couldn’t get the links to work. We were checking the UCI one, and another one wanted my credit card information. Then I remember your brother was there. So I texted him. And he said to go to Facebook. And there you were. He put in on live for us. We saw you. And then…you were down. And he shut it off! We didn’t know what to think!”
I didn’t know what to think either. Hell, I didn’t even know what happened. The first thing that came to my mind was my head. Protect your head. Is anything broken? I’m good. How’s my bike? At this point, it’s had worse.
Five weeks prior, I looked up the world cup procedure, out of curiosity. Who would have thought…I had a spot at a home world cup. A world cup in the United States of America. A home crowd. At my “home”. I asked Andy, “Can we do it?” I’ve been blessed with an incredible man, because he looked at me with all the frustration in the world, but he said, “Sure, you can do it.” Between working 25-35 hour weeks at Target, holding down the fort at ERO Pennsylvania, traveling numerous days/weeks up to the Milton velodrome to conduct aero testing…not to ride..but for work….I spent hours in the early early morning on the rollers and more hours in the dark on the Wattbike at night. I stared at the black night screen on my Garmin cursing every single workout, but knowing I had to dig harder than I’ve ever dug before if I was going to get ready for a world cup scratch race.
Let’s be honest, a scratch race in Ttown on a Friday night is one thing…but a scratch race on the world stage is a whole different animal. In those short 5 weeks, we did something incredible. I proved more to myself in those five weeks than I ever have before. And I was ready. We chose to have me race it conservatively. That meant…no chasing anything down, no “going for it”, and no seeing the front. I didn’t listen very well, because I did go to the front, I did see some wind. And I wanted to go sooooooo bad. But i didn’t. I listened to that, anyways. We came down to one to go…i was sitting in a position I didn’t want to be in, but I had a plan, and I was ready. Then before I knew it, I was sliding down the track, luckily without anyone else landing on me, and that was it. 39 laps down, a DNF to show for it. A DNF to show for those 5 weeks cashiering, stocking, unloading, traveling, aero testing, fitting, coaching..and training. But that’s how racing goes.
I didn’t exactly know what happened until an official showed me the video afterward. It gives you a bit of closure to know you were in the right, you did nothing wrong. But at my home world cup, in front of my home crowd, at my first world cup as an endurance athlete, I was heart broken. We had high hopes, and that wasn’t how I wanted to leave it.
Life doesn’t always go according to plan. But one thing it has taught me is to stop looking at the result only…but look at the journey. My goal of racing at the 2016 Olympics fell short….but that journey there was incredible. The past 5 weeks, in route to this world cup, I changed, grew, and proved more to myself and our training philosophy than anyone will ever know. What we did, what we managed to do…I’m forever grateful to have had this opportunity…one I probably will never have again in my athletic career. I’m grateful for my friends at Wattbike, for giving me the ability to train so late at night. My coach and best friend, Andy Lakatosh with Big Picture Cycling, for simplifying and hitting the nail on the head. All my sponsors, the Foundation for American Track Cycling, and my friends at the Jerry Baker Memorial Velodrome. Without any of them, I wouldn’t be putting the USA kit back on, and competing at one of my favorite tracks, in front of friends and family.
So what does the future hold? Who knows. Back to reality. Back to a little less riding, and a little more making ends meet. Competing at the world championships is my spot to take, but the reality of the costs and time off work also play a factor in that decision. Seems crazy, right? To turn down a spot on Team USA for the World Championships…I know. But when it means keeping a roof over my head, or wearing the USA kit…sometimes you have to pick keeping a roof over your head.
London, Cali, and Los Angeles. Three amazing world cups I have had the pleasure of being part of. While they are not many, they are memorable. And now…let’s figure out what tomorrow holds…