About a month ago, a family friend asked me, “What was something you didn’t expect about racing with KHS, and making the transition to racing at the national level?” I paused for minute in thought. Then I replied, “I didn’t realize how hard it would be.” At which point he burst out laughing. But it was true. I remember back at our first team camp in October when we all first got together to ride. Paul had us go and do intervals up Modjeska Canyon, which for those that don’t know, is like a 4 minute ridiculously steep climb. I’m pretty sure I was the last guy up over it each time, and I was just dying. Paul recorded all of our times each interval, and we discussed it that night. I think Dave and Fabi had the fastest times, and Paul was like, “everyone’s got a lot of work to do.”
Once race season rolled around, I knew what he meant. YOWSERS! Some of the NCC Criteriums and NRC stage races we did I had no idea what I was in for. But as the season progressed, I slowly got more and more used to the caliber of racing, and tactics, and reading what’s really happening in the race. Paul was great in not putting a lot of pressure on me for results, but to learn, and just keep improving. He understands it takes time to physically and mentally be ready to really race at that level. It was a great season, and I’m really looking forward next year! I’ll definitely be looking to get some more results for the team now that I’ve got a year of racing experience and significantly better fitness from that level of racing!
One of the big adjustments this year too, besides racing, was the traveling. I’m not someone who has done much traveling, so the first few travel trips racing were a bit stressful. But then it became semi-routine. I have to say, I’ve laughed unbelievably hard to the point of tears at times during some of the conversations that happen in the team van driving across country. Which brings me to the team. We all get along really well on and off the bike. That’s huge because when we’re traveling we’re with each other 24/7. If we had inner team drama it would be a nightmare. So it’s great we all get along.
Another great part of traveling was all the host families we stayed with throughout the year. Our hosts this year were all incredible, and I know I speak for the entire team when I say we really appreciated them putting us all up for days on end.
In summary, it’s been a huge year of growth both physically and mentally for me. I’ve had some unbelievable experiences, been to some pretty sweet places, learned a ton, and met some really cool people.
My first year on the KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo team will be one I won’t forget! Thanks to all my awesome teammates, our Director Paul, and all the sponsors for such a memorable year! can’t wait to see what next season holds!
Thank you to our sponsors: KHS Bicycles, Maxxis Tires, JLVelo, Serfas, Shimano, Velo Saddles, Praxis Works, Xpedo Pedals, Kali Protectives, NDXSports, Bike Religion, Bicycle Blue Book, WD-40 BIKE, Chamois Butt’r, Cycling Illustrated, Rennie & Associates, Kramp Krushers, Ultra Cycle, 360 Camera, and Q2.
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