It's been some time since I've really written...so much has happened...In fact, it’s been long enough that in a way it’s a little intimidating. Writing thoughts in a blog format for people to read is a relatively personal thing. It really opens me up to others hearing my perspective through words on a screen, and undoubtedly I’m rusty. If grammatical errors are a pet peeve…well, give me a free pass past go, and I’ll give you the $200.00.
To begin, I am an extremely determined individual. Once I set my mind and heart on a goal I tend to achieve it, and that makes me sound completely full of myself, which I hate, and which I’m certainly not. I believe in modesty and being humble. There are 7 billion people on Earth, and therefore 7 billion individual universes that have achieved and done many things. I'm no different.
Being determined and having a strong mindset are good for most goals in life. However, there are some goals which require heart. Unless you follow it with your heart being determined and having a strong mindset just aren’t enough. I’m talking about passion. Passion comes from being determined and having a strong mindset followed by believing in what you're doing with your heart. This was a concept I learned early in my career as a Cyclist well before I turned professional.
Let me be clear, I’m not the highest profiled American Cyclist, nor am I close to being the best, and I don’t want to be. I’m happy being who I am and I certainly have a place and made my mark in American Cycling and I'm proud of that. I’ve raced Paris Roubaix, Tour of Flanders, Milan San Remo, Gent Wevelgem, Het Volk among many other races on the road. On the velodrome, I’ve been to the multiple World Cups, World Championships and the 2008 Olympic Games. I’ve been racing a bicycle since I was 13 years old and I have pinned on a lot of numbers during that time.
Anyone who knows me, knows my stance on modesty. I have absolutely no reason to have a chip on any shoulder. I’m not better than anyone else and I do not pretend to be. There are many others who have come before me and will come after who have achieved or will achieve far more than I will. But a story is only as good as a the story teller; told in a certain way, and I’m not
even sure I’m that good of a storyteller but I will certainly give it a shot. My hope is I will influence, inspire, and leave an impact on someone. Even if it is only one person, then my time in writing this was worthwhile. I’m just a normal average guy, who worked and practiced something over and over and over until I was good enough to make a dream a reality. But I couldn’t have done it without the help of so many amazing people I met along the way, and there are a lot of people.
I also couldn’t have done it without my Father, who during my time as a junior and even into high-school used his CDL license and would ask the company he worked for for a load to any destination close to a race. He would drive me in Semi Truck over night while I’d sleep in the back. We had to do this because we were a single income family and money was always tight and cycling is expensive.
They say it takes 10,000 hours or 10 years to reach a “professional” level in anything. Doesn’t matter what it is, but so long as you have that time frame in it, you’d be an expert. Don’t know that I completely agree with that, because I can learn something new about riding a bicycle every day. A doctor can learn something new everyday. But I do agree, that once a certain level of time has past doing an activity you would be well vested in that subject enough to be referred to as an “expert”.
Because I can learn something new everyday about cycling, I've learned to take the same approach in my genral life. Regarding Cycling though, I've given my life to it. Not just in the essence of riding as a hobby, but as bike racer. Before I retired in 2014 I thrived on the rush I got from racing and the feeling I had after a hard days training. Riding a bicycle faster, longer, further, is something I had been doing since I was 5. I started pushing on the pedals then and stroke after stroke for nearly 30 years it’s lead me on a journey that one cannot equate to dollars and cents. It’s been a journey of epic proportions, one that has defined me to a point of self identification.
The goal that required passion, was making the US Olympic Team, which was a goal starting from long ago. Achieving that goal for me, was literally a dream come true. It was a goal I'd said I wanted to achieve but in stating that goal, I never said medal. I just said I wanted to go and there is a clear difference between setting the bar at going and setting the bar at medaling.
There is a process about going to the Olympics and going just once is a huge opportunity. But it's also overwhelming. Throw in a face mask, death threats, a week of no sleep, and a velodrome that is a 1.5 hour drive away (one way) every day...and you have a recipe for disaster come game day. Had I been able to go to a second or third Olympic Games, my goals would have been different. I would have understood many things that I needed to do differently in order to give myself the best shot at medaling.