I’m excited to feel the thrill of competition once again
That’s two years of high school Spanish at work there, folks. I’m a new member of the Jamis/ Sutter Home Cycling Team and anybody who knows the U.S. domestic racing scene, knows that Jamis / Sutter Home has a handful of native Spanish speaking riders and staff, including my new boss Sebastian Alexandre. In fact, I must have been asked “How’s your Spanish?” about 10 times from different people in the first week that the signing was announced. I respond a confident “mas o menos.”
Anyway, I’m ready for the Amgen Tour of California. What I mean is I’m ready to start accepting the fact that in two days, I’ll again be lining up with many of the best riders in the world for the biggest cycling event in the U.S. (insert expletive)! This comes less than two months after finding out that I would even be allowed to race this season. Quite the emotional roller coaster I’ve been riding with regards to this sport over the past twenty months. Fortunately, the last couple of months have been mostly in the upward direction.
Since hearing that I had been selected to ride the Amgen Tour of California by Sebaand and allowed to race by the organizers of the tour, I’ve intentionally avoided info on the stage distances, the profiles and even who will be on the start line. It would have all been too overwhelming for my fragile state of mind and modest Midwest upbringing. Instead I focused on getting as fit as I could in the short two weeks between the end of Gila and the start of the tour. Honestly, that amounted to 4 quality training days. But boy, they were really good days! *
So now, I’ve accepted my fate. In fact, I’m now super excited about the week in store. I’m excited to line up with my new teammates and prove my worth and start building those bonds that seem unique to team sports. I’m excited to see friends again, some of whom I’ve not seen for nearly two years. But most of all, I’m excited to feel the thrill of competition once again, to experience those moments when I’m tested to the limit of my physical abilities. I’m looking forward to seeinghow I respond in those situations. Will I fade to the background and make excuses to myself or will I rise to the occasion and push myself further than I thought possible?
Those are the moments that I love and fear simultaneously. They are moments that every true competitor at any level knows all too well. They are full of truth and discovery for the person who experiences them. And one thing I am sure of is that the AToC will provide those moments if I’m willing to accept them. And I’m humbled and honored and thrilled that I’ll be a part of it. For me, it’s all a gift. This race is a gift, this team is a gift, and this season is a gift. Even this talent that I have is agift. It’s important to appreciate it all but also to acknowledge and realize how fragile and fickle it all is. With all of this in mind, I’m determined to make the most of this opportunity…oh, and have lodes of fun along the way. That’s my ambition.
* To each of the athletes whom I coach and constantly preach the importance of rest: see, I’m no hypocrite!
- Tom Zirbel
- May 22, 2011, 20:29 BST
Tour of California time trial
- May 20, 2011, 18:18 BST
Mind games in the Tour of California
- May 19, 2011, 12:32 BST
First major mountain test completed