An obvious danger of trial by fire is you can still get burned.  But that is what makes us stronger, further refines us, and makes us more valuable.  A refining process requires high heat and pressure in order to make something more precious, and more beautiful.  What would gold be without the refining process?

I want to be refined.  Not only as I go through the highs and lows of life, letting myself become open and receptive to being refined, but it also applies to my current profession, bicycle racing.  You have to challenge yourself to get better. You never learn anything by always winning.  Every once in awhile you have to step into the fire.  If we are talking about bike racing in Holland, I think that is jumping feet first into the fire pit.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

Oh the fires and perils of racing in Holland.  Where goat roads and bicycle paths are turned into a war zone for position and a miniscule draft.   Where the drop offs into the wind swept canals lined with tulips and green grass suddenly look ominous with the possibility of hot lava, shark finned alligators and fanged polar bears residing within them.  True statement.  I was told not to fall into the canal just to avoid further destruction of what lurked beneath their white capped water.  Yikes.  If that doesn’t strike a survival instinct within your core, the Dutchies’ tenacity to ride in such conditions will.  It was war.  It was fire.

I completed my last race in Holland with the USA National team yesterday. Phew.  Now it is time to keep shaking this cold, get rested, recover, and get ready to race with my team at the Tour of Gila!

Did I get burned?  A little bit.  Every single time?  Nope.  Did I get refined?  Absolutely.  This process is not even close to being over, but the opportunity to race against the world’s best in the world’s toughest conditions has furthered refined me, not only as a person, but as a bike racer.  This opportunity was incredible.  You never know your limits until you encroach on them.  Pray. Breathe. Race. Refine.

Photo by John Pierce PhotoSport International

I brought my cobble home with me.  He was worth the heavier bag.

Now on to the Gila.

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