New Again

/*NEWS: I am now doing a “podcast” which is a fancy way of me saying that I am recording my blogs to mp3 for those that are too lazy to read and hate cool hyperlinks and great photos. Scroll to bottom to seeeee*/

It’s that time again, #crossiscoming is very soon to intersect with #crossishere and I am very happy to be entering this season with a new team. If you haven’t heard or put the pieces together, you should likely get a new helmet because you’ve been hitting your head a lot. I am happy to be joining Kerry Werner on the Kona Maxxis Shimano team! As my past few blogs have indicated, I had a rough last season and it left me drained and full of doubt. I battled this spring with some overtraining and fatigue. The summer was not as full of the training I wanted, but I finally found the thing I needed when I joined the Kona crew. I had an awesome trip with the crew and then Kerry convinced me to do a mountain bike stage race. This late-summer “team camp” period made me realize a love of riding, maybe for the first time.

I have had fun on the bike before, but it was more fun sprinkled in to a feeling of responsibility. Since hitting this reset button, I have found myself having fun, looking forward to rides, and having fewer moments of anxiety. I am super excited to see where this new mindset carries me for this season.

Check out this cool release on the Kona Cog here!

This whole time, you know, I have been holding back. I have been striving to attain the appearance of a mediocre elite athlete, only so I can Loic Bruni your asses.

No need to reflect on my born-again attitude, and I am not ready to dwell further on my tough spring, so instead, I will leave you with a few words of wisdom going into the season:

Dear soon-to-be cyclocross racer,
You may have been training, because #crossiscoming, but you’re not a racer until #crossishere. If you are new, you do not yet know the difference. If you know, then you will appreciate the following words. Or you won’t. In which case, go race road.
As you line up, remember that this is the early season for everyone. Though we all have different levels of fitness, we surely have similar levels of finesse. Which is none. So don’t hold back, don’t be embarrassed, grab that awkwardness by the hoods! [If you’re not going to be at Roanoke Go-Cross to kick off the season, you better go to the clinic before Rochester. Even if you live on the west coast, you should fly out for the clinic.] Honestly, the tip I give to you as you dust off your skills, is walk first. Remind your body of the motion. Slowly increase speed. Your body will remember it. If you are new, engrain proper skills, not sloppy ones.
You know the season starts hot. Have you been training in the heat of the day? Or perhaps you’re an early morning racer. Have you figured out how to eat without vomiting or passing out? It’s a balance. Train how you race. Simulate your meals and timing during practice. I have been trying out new recovery methods recently, making sure they aren’t secret crippling devices.
The season starts dusty, but remember, the air is clear at the front. Dust hinders vision and breathing, but most importantly, it gets all over your face and it makes it very obvious you were not in the front. If you cannot be at the front, just hang back far enough to not catch other’s dust. That way, when you don’t win, you can convince others you led until the last lap when you somehow dropped a chain and got be chain suck, and they will likely believe your clean, beautiful face.
Have you checked your equipment from last year? Brake pads, chains, sealant, glue, bent derailleur hangers, rogue frame cracks? Or worse. Dirty bar tape.
While we are checking things, check your meds. It will be cold season soon, check what you can and can’t take. “Just an age grouper”? Yea, because no masters level racer has ever been caught doping (accidentally doping or not).
For the fans, have you checked what teams your favorite racers are riding for this year? If not, hurry up and check so you can replace your equipment with all of the correct on-brand stuff.
Most importantly, define your goals. They say your goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, and some other things, but, I want everyone to start out with their purpose. My purpose is to work hard, representing my sponsors both on and off the bike so that I can continue to pursue cyclocross at the professional level. Here I have not defined how I will do this or even what it means. Here are some example purposes for others:
  • I want to use the sport the stay fit during the winter
  • I want to join my family/friends at the venue so I may as well race while I am at it
  • I want to show improvement in my results
  • I want to make the next category
You see the range of purposes – some of them are more specific than others, but get too specific and you are looking at a goal. The purpose of the purpose is this: when you are extremely disappointed (because it will happen, CX gets aggressive and competitive) you need to see if you have met your purpose. If you only wanted to participate when you started, you can’t be disappointed that you aren’t winning because you likely didn’t train for it. But you can make a new purpose, as long as it is realistic! And if your purpose in the season was results or performance driven, but you are sucking, then don’t worry, you may not be sucking, maybe everyone else is just super good! But you should reassess your goals, because maybe they are what are failing you when you are reflecting on your purpose. If your purpose was to improve and you are judging by your goals of winning every race, maybe that wasn’t realistic, or maybe you aren’t training to get out what you put in.
My purpose will mean a balance of hard work, positivity, and a balance of fun to ensure longevity in the sport (and even the season).
I look forward to seeing everyone out there, make sure you find the Kona tent at the races and come say hey to me and Kerry.
/*Don’t judge my first attempt at a recorded podcast. It was done on my phone, quickly just to say I did it. First one is like a band-aid. */

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