When does one make the “big time”, and is there really such a thing. Aren’t we all in the “big time”?
I think Northern California is the “big time” and I am happy to be a part of it.
I have raced more, traveled more, experienced more this year than I ever have in my short cycling career. From the desert sands of Qatar, to the cobbled roads of the Netherlands, to the peak of Mt. Hamilton. And this is just the beginning. Oh the places that cycling takes me. It is always refreshing to spend a moment at home, albeit brief.
There is something comforting about the riding in Marin, kind of like an electric blanket or a sweet potato mash. I know the roads. I know my time splits. I know the riders. I know the area. It is mine.
It is the same with the racing. They are close, they are hard, and they are available.
That being said, with all the racing and traveling, I have had very limited opportunities to race “locally”. Northern California offers one of the most competitive racing in the US, and I love the chance to train and race in my backyard with my friends and support. I have only done three “local” races this year, and it is June! That is crazy!
This weekend, I was able to compete in one of my favorite events, the Mt. Hamilton Classic. With a 20mile climb, and a beautiful point-to-point race from San Jose to Livermore, you cannot ask for a much better event. I was able to use my climbing legs and enjoy the race as I barely missed out on the QOM, but my team secured the win through some excellent work, and it was a good training day with some solid racing and riding. Bam. That race is the real deal. That race is the “big time”.
Before hitting the road for the trek up to Mt. Hood, I also did the Memorial Day Criterium. It was a beautiful day in Morgan Hill, and I was able to race aggressively and hard to put some more fitness in my legs before this next racing block through nationals. The girls were motivated, strong, and scrappy.
Racing should be hard. It should be fun. That makes it the big time. I race in the “big time”, but what does that mean? I race my bike because I love the sport. It is challenging no matter what level you are. It is what you make it. Go for the win. Go for the pain. Enjoy the ride. Do not discredit this.
Northern California, you offer me training and racing. When I get to the “big time”, I will let you know. Until then, I will race hard, change the outcomes, and train. I have big goals and big dreams. Oh the places this sport will take me. I will always work hard, I will always compete, and I will never settle. That to me…is the “big time”.