Monday, October 7, 2013

Why it was good I wasn't athletic in high school

I'm ending my 2013 season on a bittersweet note. I structured my season around the solo 24 hour world champs in Australia, but due to Oz being a very difficult and expensive location to get to - I had to pull the plug last minute. The good news is that my preparation for the worlds produced a great byproduct of a few unexpected wins along the way, making this season possibly the best of my cycling career. However, for me the experience of the cliched journey is really what I take away every season and it makes it all worth it.

A good friend of mine said to me the other day, 'Your biggest win is coming back from your injury.' He's completely right. Just over a year ago I was laid up for 4 months unable to stand for more than 5 minutes. I worried about every day that I didn't exercise and how much weight I'd gain, which really put me in a bad place. Fast forward to this summer and I'm riding my mountain bike through the high country of Colorado, racing plenty and feeling I'm where I'm supposed to be. A place I thought I wouldn't get to again.

I'm lucky in the sense that I found my sport, albeit later in life. I sometimes wish I was an athlete in high school. (fun fact: I DID letter in girls volleyball as a manager/stat taker. You may laugh, but when you really think about it - it's genius. A high school guy hanging out and traveling with a team of girls.) The thoughts of missing an athletic background don't last long when I think about my motivation to train and race at age 33 when most pro cyclists are thinking about hanging it up and moving on. I love it. It all still feels relatively new to me. I love the work and suffering that comes with being a bike racer. I love preparing all winter and hand crafting my preparation for the upcoming season. Win or lose at the race, it's all part of that journey. And most of all, I love it when I look up and see my family, Rachel, and friends at races.

As I close out my 2013 season, I have to say thanks to everyone who supports me. Of course Honey Stinger, Trek, and Bontrager who truly make it possible for me to compete at a high level.

Thanks to my family and Rachel - who give 100% support. It's a selfish sport and requires a lot. My family have stepped up in a huge way any time I've needed help with travel and moral support. And Rachel, who has helped me step up my ice cream intake... and has been ultra patient with my long stories of training rides and races.

Now it's time to kick back, eat some cheeseburgers, and do some casual mountain biking to take in the fall colors...


Sinjin Eberle said...

Nice, Kelly - Here's to a great off season! Hope to see you down Durango way in the spring - you should come do Iron Horse!! I am sure Miles and Jen would love to have you around as well.

Take care, and don't forget the green chili on that cheeseburger!

Ian said...

Congrats on a great season Kelly. Hope to see you and Rachel soon.