Week 1 –
Deciding to train, coach, race, and plan my last ski season independently was important to me. Having the freedom to work on my own ideas and only answer to myself made me much more accountable and self-aware as an athlete.
I was able to take all the best of what I’d learned from former coaches Mark Doble, Jack Sasseville, Ron Howden, and Timo, as well as advice from Thunder Bay’ers Kevin Shields and Adam Kates, Rocky Mountain Racer’s coaches Luke McGurk and John Jacques, and so many others, pooling it together to make plans and carry-out work that I was content with. (name dropping essential, sorry, and thank you)
Stepping into cycling, however, presented challenges I didn’t have answers or the know-how to figure out myself. Especially on the tight timeline I had to transition. Right off the bat I knew I had to surround myself with people who could help me get better. Living in Oro Medonte made it pretty easy to find the right people, and also quickly brought me into the folds of the community.
I started working with coach Andrew Watson from the get-go in late April last year, riding with seasoned mountain bikers, working by day – training by dusk and dawn, and just being as much of a sponge as possible.
The racing started way sooner than I was ready for, and also ended more abruptly than I could have imagined.
My first season lasted all of 3.5 months. (so much for base-build-race plans.) And the learning curve was insane, at times completely overwhelming, but all together made for a completely surreal summer…
Week one on the bike – over 9 minutes back at an OCup, two months and nearly 200hours of work later- National Champion, two days later – World Championship nomination, another two weeks – rolling top 10 at a World Cup, then about 31 minutes into that race – on the rocks with a broken kneecap…
Win some, learn some.
Life can move fast if you show up, set things in motion, and do work. And it can also move slow, especially when the process is beyond your control – as I discovered during the seemingly never ending months it took to heal and rehab from my injury. But no matter how fast or slow, life is always moving. Life is about moving.
I’m glad I decided to show up and start racing bikes. Starting something new and putting myself in a position to compete without context was the best thing I’ve done for myself as a competitor and athlete in a long time. Without expectation or context, you can’t help but grow and evolve freely in the space that surrounds you.
Which brings us to “now”.
Midway through my first training season for cycling… It’s different, interesting, weird. Challenging in different ways than skiing. The new is good, I’m learning a lot and am as anxious, if not more, to start riding this spring as I was last year. Hopefully this time I’m a little more prepared ; )
This brings us pretty much up to speed on my recent and relevant athletic story. Many of the themes for the weekly Thought / Talking Point will circle back to reference my own experiences and include some anecdotes. Need to keep a little personal flavour in the blog – but please do pitch in any ideas or comments you might have, I prefer talking to people over my reflection in the mirror.
Next post Tuesday