“I don’t believe you have to be better than everybody else. I believe you have to be better than you ever thought you could be.”
Almost 18 months have passed since I hired a coach. My everyday lexicon has expanded to include a whole dictionary of performance training acronyms. TrainingPeaks terms: CTL, ATL, FTP and the all-mighty TSS (TSS: that’s another story). But it started with FTP. At the start my power output could barely light a light bulb. Now, now I can almost light a room. But power output aside, has it been worth it?
Even at the beginning my gut knew that hiring a coach was about more than winning races, and in some respects it was about more than cycling. And this was good. Every race only has one winner, in the podium sense. But, not to sugarcoat it — after all this isn’t 1st grade where everyone takes home a blue ribbon — there are other takeaways that make it a win. But even I didn’t envision this journey so far.
I think the journey began for real 6 months in. We’d brought the fitness up to an all time high. We’d just done the J-pow cyclocross camp and I was primed to start the CX season. But first, one last mountain bike excursion over Kenosha Pass on Labor Day weekend.
Those that know me know what happens next. Woman down. The season seemed done before it even begun. A cha cha with an unyielding tree results in a broken collarbone. But when I called Coach crying from the hospital he already had a plan.
Like Lindsay Wagner I came back stronger than before. I stood on the podium – several times. I even won a race. And then I raced Nationals for the first time. But what next?
The planning for 2014 began even before 2013 had ended — the goal picked somewhat by process of elimination and one desire. Plus, I wanted to do a stage race.
Although it fit all the adventure criteria, La Ruta de los Conquistadores was eliminated almost from the get-go. A combination of snakes, spiders and high-dilapidated bridges made it an impossible choice for me or my coach. The snakes and heights for me, the spiders for him.
The British Columbia mountain stage race was also eliminated due to expense and travel.
And then I remembered a Jeff Kerkove blog post with a picture of a shiny belt buckle. Like Heckle and Jeckle my eyes had lit up on that shiny object — I wanted it. But could I do the Breck Epic six-day mountain stage race and earn that buckle?
I think I emailed Coach something like “I’m not sure I can do this. I’ve never done a stage race! Seems scary.” And he replied, “Perfect, let’s do it.”
And so here we are — 9 months later and just a few days before the start of the 6 day Breck Epic mountain bike race. A desire for adventure, a penchant for a shiny object and a coach’s belief that I could be better than I thought I could be.
Here’s one more inspirational quote from Coach to start this Breck Epic adventure. “The task ahead of you is never greater than the strength within you.”
It’s been worth it, but stay tuned for the rest.