January 1, 2011
As I roll out of bed and open the blinds, there is quietness about our street. The usual sound of cars on their way to work and people beginning their daily hustle is nowhere to be found. It’s January first, the beginning of a new year and while I am rising out of bed many people have probably just gotten into it. As I pull on my kit I can hear the rain beating down on the roof, the wind whipping the trees against our windows. As I roll down the street to start my day I can see families inside, at the breakfast table, enjoying a day off from work and savoring the warmth as they stare out at the winter storm that is blowing through the Napa Valley. Four hours later I’m home again. I’m tired, I’m cold, and I’m soaked to the bone but I am happy, I’m content. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
It is 2011, just over four years since I took my first pedal strokes on a road bike. In all likelihood, just as for the majority of you reading this, I had no idea just how far cycling would take me and how great a role it would play in my life. It is not a stretch to say that it literally changed my life.
Too much has happened to fully recount my entire journey to the top level of the sport, but here is the simple version. My parents tell me that I have always been a passionate person, throwing myself whole heartedly into whatever I was focused on but never sticking with one thing, whether sports related or otherwise, for to long. The problem seemed to be that I always wanted to be the best at whatever I was doing and when the reality that such a feat might not be possible hit me, I moved onto the next thing. Throughout my childhood, I had searched for a place where I felt at home and, for the first time, with cycling, I had found what I was looking for. I had never known exactly what I wanted to do but I knew that it did not involve sitting at a desk of any sort. School was an option but not the most appealing one. The bike provided me with another opportunity, an opportunity to do something that I truly love. Through quite a few ups and downs and with the never-ending support of my friends and family, I have been able to turn my dreams into a reality and join Garmin-Cervelo for 2011.
I have had some people tell me that I have made it, but I know that this is just a new beginning. Everything up to this point has been preparation, practice, but now it is the real thing. For years, cycling has been one of the most important parts of my life but now it is also my job and not a day goes by that I don’t think of what I went through to get here. There is a reason that you see riders cry when they come within an inch of victory only to have it snatched away, that you see the rider who loses the leaders jersey with his face in his hands, unable to confront reporters or teammates. Cycling is human nature stripped down of all our modern constraints, it is raw emotion. Look at the faces of the riders next time you see them struggling up a climb, look at the face of the winner and then glance at the guy who came in second. Cycling goes far beyond a job for all of us, it is a passion; it is what we love to do.
For everyone that embraces this sport, whether it is for recreation, as a racer, or anything in between, we all share a common bond. We all have a unique story of how cycling influences us on a daily basis and helps mold our path in life. This year I am going to share mine with you. I hope you enjoy the ride.