A bit late for a year in review, I know, but this last weekend I skied up to the Harry Gates Hut, part of the 10th Mountain Division Huts, for my 31st birthday. And as any good birthday boy should — especially when he is confronted with a few hours of skiing in the incredibly quiet solitude of the White River National Forest — I spent a long time inside my own head.
Last year was a strange one for me. 1) I was racing unattached for the first time in my actual racing “career,” which was more of a deal than I would have thought. 2) I turned 30, which meant I had to have some sort of quarter-life crisis (I intend to live to 120 years old) regarding employment, children, marriage status, “what I’m doing with my life,” etc. 3) There was this whole “girlfriend” thing to contend with. That was and continues to be fun and exciting and scary and stressful and ultimately very rewarding. 4) The UCI further hack-‘n’-slashed track cycling’s program, this time from the World Cups, and thus my goal of somehow participating in said World Cup was thrown out the window. Can someone who’s barely a bike racer “retire”? I’ve thought about that word. As a 31-year-old who hasn’t actually raced full-time in his life and came into the sport six years ago.
So it was a bit of a roller coaster, to say the least.
But after much introspection, I decided I’m damn proud of this last year, on-bike and off. I won the National Track Calendar, which was as much a show of my sustained ability to support myself (financially and otherwise) as it was an acknowledgement of any sort of racing prowess. I traveled to Texas, Seattle, and Indianapolis, and that pesky 9-5 job that makes it so hard to actually train in the first place was the thing that enabled me to afford to go. So that was cool.
Also, winning the NTC auto-qualified me to go to Aguascalientes to represent the United States in the Pan-Am Championships. Racing internationally was always one of my goals with cycling, and I’d always thought that would mean I’d pay my own way to Madrid to visit my brother and then figure out how to force my way into some middling Spanish race just to be able to say I pinned a number against some Euros. Instead, my expenses were paid by the PASO and I wore a stars and stripes jersey repping the US in a track race in Mexico. Granted, my overall training this year was slightly impacted by my not being on a team, not having any money to enter as many races as I had in the past, and generally not having any “goal races” to really train for. Had I known I’d been racing the Pan-Ams back in January 2014, I assure you I would have finished better than 12th and 11th in my two races down there in September. But, such is life. At least I got to go.
I also did a bunch of other sweet shit in 2014:
- Helped spearhead a fundraiser that brought in over $6000 for a friend
- Spent a night in the Squaw Mountain Fire Lookout
- Hiked the Boulder Skyline Traverse
- Rode/hike-a-biked over Rollins Pass
- Consumed 5/6 of The Whole Enchilada on one of two trips to Moab
- Camped and fished in RMNP several times
- Went on two snowshoe/ski hut trips
- Hiked down into the Black Canyon and saw the Great Sand Dunes, neither of which were the subject of a blog post. That is a shame, really. Sorry about that. Black Canyon is one of the most remarkable places I’ve ever been to in my life, and was easily the most difficult hike I’ve ever done.
Holy shit. When I re-read this post, it’s almost like moving out to Colorado (the subject of this blog) enabled me to live the dream or something.
Color me grateful.