In contrast to what a typical year would look like for me in the past, 2013 has been an extremely quiet one in terms of race results. After taking a full 12 months of nothing but training to work specifically on fixing all my weakness and building a base of strength and power to carry me through 2016, I was more than a little eager to get back on the track, pin a number on and do battle! With the summer domestic racing season having come to a close and the UCI World Cups for the 2013/14 season being out of reach my team and I made the decision to target the LAGP UCI Race at the end of November. With a completely clear schedule and the venue right down the street from my house it was an easy choice to go in full gas and see where we stood.
The preparations began in September with a transition back onto the wooden boards of the Velo Sports Center. A place where I have spent a tremendous amount of time over the last year coaching and working with athletes of all levels and abilities. Everything from Try the Track days to get new people exposed to everything a velodrome has to offer, all the way up to National and World Champions on their quests for more hardware. I really do love all things cycling, and coaching/mentoring has hands down got to be the most rewarding part of sport I've come across yet and is certainly something I see myself doing a lot of in the future! Through the coaching though I've had the opportunity to get to know some truly magnificent people in the LA track cycling community. There really are too many to list them all but the one I absolutely must share is Mr. Gerald Agnew from CalBikeLaw.com. I met Gerry at the 6am early bird training sessions at the VSC on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays where I am always working with any athlete crazy enough to come out and get a workout in before the rest of the world even thinks about waking up. Over the course of a few months I got to know Gerry really well and got to witness all of his overflowing love for the sport and generosity to those in need; myself included. After watching me coach from 6-8am, leave straight for my gym workout from 9-11am, then come back to the track for a 12-4pm track workout only to wake up and repeat it day in and day out Gerry did something that surprised the hell out of me. One weekend after I finished working with a group of first time track cyclists that Gerry had befriend out on the roads of LA and convinced to try out the track, Gerry announced that him and his partner at CalBikeLaw.com were going to sponsor me for the LAGP race coming up and presented me with a check!! I was absolutely blown away again by his generosity! In the world of a "starving athlete" every little bit really does help and thanks to Gerry and CalBikeLaw.com I was able to reduce some of the life stresses we all endure and focus a bit more clearly on my task at hand.
As the racing drew nearer I could feel the tension and excitement building. Having not pinned a race number on in over 14 months was a really long time! Data had been the name of the game for the last year out on the road and in the gym and while I knew what I was capable of off the track I was eager to see what it equaled on the track. The transition back to the track would undoubtedly be a learning curve for both my coach Bert Glennon (BGM Sports) and I as it would be t
he first one since we started working together. But then again, every race from now till the games is just a testing ground for 2016. In the build up and at the event we were constantly testing out different gearing and equipment set ups to try and dial in the one that would work best for the GP. With all the changes that we made I was more grateful than ever to have the support of Felt Bicycles, Atomic High Performance, Simmons Shoes and Vie 13. It really is one of the most reassuring things in the world when you know all your equipment is the best of the best!
By the time we dug into the weekend I was revved up and ready to roll! And boy was I ever in for a big surprise. Right out of the gate in the very first race I discovered that the changes that had taken place in my body were bigger than I could have ever anticipated. The simplest way to describe it is to use a motor sports analogy. It was like I spent my entire career racing around in the same 4 cylinder car. I had spent years building it up and tuning it into a machine that I knew inside and out. Then I essentially stripped the entire car down to just the chassis and spent the next year rebuilding it with entirely new everything. Imagine having a BMW for 16 years then stepping into a Ferrari. I even needed new fuel just to get my rebuilt engine to run right! Lucky for me I had Dr. Philip Goglia of PFC Nutrition there to measure and update my foods constantly to keep me progressing. With everything fine tuned and topped off it was time to go test it out and learn how to drive my newly built racing machine. The entire weekend was spent trying different tactics at every turn, collecting and analyzing the data in real time, making an adjustment and trying it again. By the end of the Kierin and the Sprint tournaments on paper I had walked away with two top 10's. I managed a 6th in the Kierin and 8th in the Sprints against a strong international field. Not a bad showing at all for my first race in 14 months and for Bert and mine's first transition back indoors. But my super competitive nature won't let me be fully satisfied with either of those two results so it's back to the grind and into the normal training routine!
So when all the dust settled the place I am currently standing is right where I need to be. Actually it's 8 MONTHS a head of schedule to be exact. It's now looking like a few months or so until the race for UCI points will wind up again and it's back to the training grind for me! I'd like to thank everyone who has made this last year possible! I really could not have made it here without every single one of you! Felt Bicycles - for designing the fastest racing machines out there. Predator Cycling - for always saving the day and constantly pushing the envelope in everything they do. Atomic High Performance - for supplying the fastest drivetrain imaginable. Vie 13 - for making the fastest and best cycling clothing available. Simmons Shoes - for showing me what I didn't know I was missing when it came to high performance foot ware. Wheelbuilder.com - for always keeping me "rolling". Oakley Eyewear - for making products truly beyond comparison. Pure Energy Cycling, Good Karma Racing, Alliance Environmental and of course CalBikeLaw.com for feeding the dream! (and the athlete!). Watch out 2014!