On heartbreak and starting over from zero

Something about what he said stuck out, like a nubby loose thread on an otherwise tightly knit sweater. I couldn't let it go, poking and fussing at it. I never expected that with a single tug, the entire thing would unravel. A week ago, I was in Korea riding through the mountains. My life had been shifting and changing dramatically for the previous six months, but I loved where it was going. I was in love with a man and his little girl, running the team but stepping away from the obligations of training and racing, planning for grad school and to become a mother. I had finally relaxed my rules enough to start truly living every day. Whatever unknown remained, I knew it was going to be exciting. A week later, I am driving to Virginia to live with my parents. My life is packed into the same car that ...continue reading.

On deciding to retire

The first thing I did after deciding to retire was spin for an hour on the trainer. Of course that’s how it would go. I decided to retire; I didn’t stop breathing or being a head case. But I should back up. In early June of 2007, I bought a mountain bike and later that month, I started racing it. By August, I’d decided I wanted to go to the Olympics for cross country racing and by the following December, I was in training. My whole life shifted: my diet became healthier and actually included water, I rode a bike all the time, and every day included some type of cross-training. Sometimes I loved it; others I’d put off training all day and throw tantrums as I dragged myself onto the trainer at 10pm. How I felt about the process was mostly irrelevant – I had a goal and absolute tunnel ...continue reading.

So you want to be a pro cyclist.

One of the best things about this past racing season was no longer constantly worrying about signing my next professional contract. When you run your own cycling team, you worry about everything except whether or not you’ll have a job. Jono and I did have a conversation about this few months ago. “You’re hiring me as a rider again,” I said. “You don’t have a choice.” “I could say no, but then you could fire me. And we haven’t talked about whether or not you’re hiring me back as the director.” And so that was settled. After five years of stressing all season about getting a job the following year, it was a relief to let go of that concern and race my bike without thinking about a result on a resume. [Instead I worried constantly about the team getting results to keep the sponsors happy and the team in existence. No pressure.] ...continue reading.

For Helen

My friend died today. I knew this was coming - she has been losing a fight with cancer - and I have been waiting for the phone call for several days now. This friend, Helen, is a dear friend of my family and I was expecting (dreading) a call from them back in Virginia to tell me the sad news. Waiting for the phone to ring with bad news is a terrible feeling; yesterday I thought about hiding my phone so I wouldn't have to face it, but that doesn't actually stop life from going forward. Or death. My alarm went off at 6:55am today, slicing through my pitch-black room and sound sleep to wake me up for a 7am work teleconference. I was barely awake as I dialed in and then while waiting for the call to start, Andrew texted: "Hi." I responded, whining immediately about being exhausted and on a call. Andrew ...continue reading.

That time I was swept away by a tsunami of man and bike

Hello from the off season! Everything is going really well here. Wait, no. That is a lie. Much like every road in the city of Seattle, things are continually up and down. Sometimes life is peachy and I'm living the dream and other times I would very much like to wake up already, damnit. That shift usually occurs several times before noon each day. I went on a great ride last week. By great I mean "possibly, if not likely, the worst ride of my entire cycling career" but in retrospect it was at least memorable. My training plan called for a three-hour endurance ride and, because my legs were crap and I was exhausted, I decided to plan a chill ride exploring West Seattle for several hours. No pressure, no big efforts, just some quality time on the bike seeing the town. Then it rained. It was very windy by ...continue reading.

On Handling Bad Times Like A Pro Or Something

Things have been unraveling since I slammed into the ground during the first North Star Grand Prix crit on June 15. When the crash happened and I was cleared by the hospital and the stage was neutralized, I went back into the race the following day like nothing had gone wrong. I did that stage and all the others after it, limping along stubbornly and pushing my body so hard. There was no logic in what I was doing but I couldn't stop and wouldn't let anybody around me say otherwise. That mindset is my greatest gift and curse as an athlete - I never stop. But I should have. Then, or in the days after, but I didn't. I tried to race and then started another cross-country drive out west. I called that drive my "time off" but who the hell is ridiculous enough to think driving 5-6 hours a ...continue reading.