This year’s camp has been an incredible experience. It has been really refining in positive ways, and I have learned a lot during it.
Racing over here is humbling, and it makes you focus on the details of excellence. You can learn a great amount here as you race the world’s best.
I am amazed at the support and care of the staff here at camp. They work really hard to provide us with amazing opportunities to grow in our racing and as people. Their smiling faces and willingness to help always encourage me. One example of this is Kristof, one of our soigneurs. He is always friendly and encouraging as he massages our legs after the races. I can always count on getting a good laugh in with Kristof no matter how tired I am from the racing. The small kindness like this helps the riders feel at home and stay fresh and rested mentally. Without the great staff, the riders at camp would not be able to fully take advantage of the opportunities before them. I am very grateful for their encouragement and support.
The character qualities of persistence and determination have been on my mind while I have been here. Cycling is a sport that rewards those who are persistent and determined. Belgian cyclo-cross is a discipline of cycling where this is very apparent. The courses and the field strengths are the most demanding in the world, and in order for one to race their best and learn as much as they can, they must be determined and persistent. In order to be successful, a rider must ride with heart and passion in Belgium. This passion and heart in cycling is one of the reasons why I love the sport.
A metaphor of the drive required for elite level cycling occurred to me on my training ride a few days ago. It was raining and very windy while I was doing my pre-race efforts. I felt like I was riding into a squall. I persisted on finishing my openers. After I finished my last one, the rain stopped and the sun came up. As I rode down a countryside road, the lush, vibrant green field to the right glistened in the sunlight. It was a reminder that hard work will plant a good crop to be harvested at the right time. In order to be successful, one must work hard and persist through the challenges (the rain) in order to reap the harvest of success (the beautiful, plentiful field of crops).
Thinking of heading home to the U.S. in a few days is bittersweet. I am very excited to be home with family and friends, but I will also miss the staff and the riders at camp.
I want to say thank you to my team (Wolverine Racing Elite CX), Matt Baroli, my friend’s and family’s support, my coach (Ben Ollett), Geoff Proctor, and all of the people who have helped me get to where I am. Without their amazing support, I would not have this opportunity to grow in my racing and as a person over here.
Happy New Year!