Friday, January 18, 2013

The Power of Dreams

I think it's valuable to dream and strive for goals that you can work toward in both short and long-term time frames. We each have different goals that we try to achieve in our personal/professional lives and for those of us who ride, goals within cycling that we work towards.

Three years ago traveling home from a 'cross race, Nicole Borem and I discussed the announcement that the 2013 Cyclo-Cross World Championships would be held in Louisville, KY. Our conversation sparked a dream - That dream was to race the biggest race in cyclocross that would be coming into the US for the first time in the history of the sport.

At the time it was long-term goal. As time has progressed, I have gained more knowledge, strength, and opportunities to prove myself in cycling, specifically in 'cross. These experiences have prepared me to race at a competitive level nationally allowing the chance to compete internationally. As the 2012/13 season unfolded, I began realize that my dream had the potential to become reality.

Many of you know that I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to race in Belgium as a part of the EuroCrossCamp program. This offered me a good chance to race with the best U23 riders in the world. It was also a solid block of racing to prepare me for Nationals.

During my mental preparation for Nationals I knew I would need to have solid races to successfully earn a spot on the Worlds Team. I was able to use what I learned at EXC to help me race in the muddy, sloppy conditions that we saw in the U23 race Saturday, finishing top 5. On Monday I received word that I had made the U23 squad!

I am a proud member of the Marian University Cycling Team. I believe in what the program stands for and promotes through racing. Dean Peterson, the head coach (my personal coach) has an incredible amount of vision for the team to continue to grow and develop for many years to come. It's pretty neat to be a part of a community of athletes who work hard in school and in cycling to achieve overall team success, as well as individual success. 

Marian will be sending three riders to Louisville 2013: Drew Dillman (Dizzle D), Kaitie Antonneau (Little Badger), and I (JoJoNoFingers). It’s super exciting to have three of us make the selection!

My trade team Bissell-ABG-Giant has played a huge role in my development on the road and they have given me the support to make this 'cross season by far my most successful! The other members of the the team have been supportive of my goals on the road, they have also offered their encouragement throughout the 'cross season. Our team director, Declan Doyle, has done a great job of making sure the details are taken care of so we can focus on racing bikes. 

I want to thank Dean and Declan for the coaching and mentoring they've provided me with during the last year and a half! 

Over the years my family has supported me as an individual, giving their support to whatever interest I was pursuing at the time. In my cycling, they've been supportive and understanding of the time commitment required to race and train at a high level. I couldn't do it without having their backing to accomplish the goals I am striving for. 

My girlfriend has been nothing but supportive of my cycling. I know it's hard on her when I leave different times in the summer to race, or when I was gone over the holidays racing. I'm thankful that she will be in Louisville cheering me on!

This past week (as you just read) I have reflected on my cycling career thus far and those who have invested and helped me reach success in the sport. Success can be defined merely by results, but to me it's more than that. It's one thing to ride a bike fast, it's another to ride fast and still value the importance of the people who make racing. It doesn't just happen. Cycling is a sport that requires a great deal of support... from family, friends, peers, and the list could go on. In addition to that, it's not inexpensive to race bicycles.

I choose the long-winded answer to convey the message that I'm thankful and blessed by all of you who are taking the time to read this right now, those who have invested time and effort into me as a person and as an athlete. You may never fully understand the impact you've had, but I can assure you that it has made a difference in my life.

I am very fortunate to have great support from companies who believe in what I'm doing. I would like to take a brief moment to recognize them for their efforts to help young riders continue to develop reach their potential.

Bissell is a longtime supporter and advocate of Professional cycling. They are locally stationed in the Midwest, basing their operations out of Grand Rapids, MI.
Giant Bicycles is a global company with the mission to promote health, wellness, and enjoyment through riding a bike. "Ride Life. Ride Giant"

SRAM offers quality bicycle components with a grassroots, close to home feel. Main HQ located in Chicago, ILL.
Zipp is located in Indianapolis, IN. They are dedicated to providing you with wheels and components that give you the technological advantage and confidence needed to perform at your maximum potential.
NUVO is another Indianapolis based company. They pride themselves in covering stories that are unique and interesting to read, time and time again.

Thanks for reading - See you in Louisville!

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