Jeremy Powers, on raw chicken
It’s definitely not ‘cross season anymore! Right now, most ‘cross racers are either on vacation or just getting back from one with some sand between their toes and little more Vitamin D than when they left.
Our final episode, like a fine wine, took it some time to reach its final maturity, but it’s pretty special. Behind THE Barriers was born three years ago as a way to showcase the sport, bring the races to the fans, show off the personalities, and give the viewers a backstage pass into the world of cyclocross. I like to work off this notion that if you can do it, and you don’t do it, it’s a waste of your talent. We did it.
Since I was in Japan, I got so excited thinking about the sport growing in Asia. The possibility of World Cups in the U.S., Asia, and Europe, for me, is really exciting. I think you’ll all agree, after watching this episode, that the fans are there and the sport is as exciting for newcomers as it is anywhere. It would be incredible to race a World Cup with venues all over the world before my career is over. The growth cyclocross would see from a true World Cup series, held all over the world, would be huge.
If you’ve ever had a stomach virus, you already know how I felt during my trip to Japan. I was sick for the entire plane ride over, a plane ride that was 15 hours long! I slept through most of it, but when I was awake, I sipped ginger ale and knocked back Alka-Seltzer to keep myself comfortable. It was a miserable couple of days, regardless. After the worlds in Louisville, Kentucky, someone congratulated me and said, “Dude, great job, you didn’t get sick once all season!” I looked them dead in the eye and was like, “Why did you say that?” I knew it was going to happen — it was just a matter of time.
So, while I was laid out, you guys get to day trip with Sam, Tom, Alec, Mukunda, and the whole gang touring through Tokyo — eating chicken sashimi (raw chicken!), tasting some fine Japanese whiskey, and checking out some sights. They really got the chance to take in the culture of Japan.
My experience in Japan was still amazing, but I wish I wasn’t sick for most of the trip so I could have seen and taken in more of the country. The biggest lesson I take away from my time spent in Japan was to never say never. Before the race I apologized to my mechanic and my team manager for getting sick. I didn’t truly think a result was possible.
I hadn’t eaten in days and my body was sore and beaten up. I was badly dehydrated, under-nourished and empty. It was the worst I’ve felt in some time. As a cyclist you become hyper in tune with how you feel and I knew I wasn’t feeling awesome. As I put my kit on, warmed up, and did a couple laps, I kept telling myself that it was possible to do a good race even though there weren’t a lot of good sensations. I surprised myself big time by winning in Tokyo. I couldn’t believe it. I definitely paid the price for digging so deep afterwards, though. It took me a little while to get some life back in me, but I just couldn’t believe that I won.
It’s a lesson I’ll keep in my back pocket for some time: to stay positive, and let what you think and what you tell yourself have the chance to actually happen. If the Tokyo race had been in the U.S., I wouldn’t have been racing. Since I was far away from home, I had traveled a long way to make it to the race, and so many fans were there, I wanted to perform. So, I’ll say it once more: never say never. Even though I had to sit hunched over my bike on the start line to keep my stomach settled, I kept telling myself it was possible and it happened.
As we left Japan, Alec, Sam and Mukunda all got my stomach flu, too. They got it because they were there with me through thick and thin though, like any good family. We’re all alive and still smiling.
Japan was amazing. From the culture, to the food, to the race, everything was incredible. I’m looking forward to the next time I’m able to race and be a tourist there again in the future.
From everyone at Behind THE Barriers, Thank you to the fans and sponsors who made this season possible. I’d like to especially thank everyone at VeloNews for letting us have this outlet and for their incredible coverage of cyclocross in 2012.
See you guys next year and thank you for reading,
P.S. If you wouldn’t mind taking a quick survey about the latest season of Behind THE Barriers, that would be great!
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