Mountain bike and 'cross racer Katerina Nash (Luna) has decided not to retire at the end of the 2013 season, but will continue racing in 2014, although she will focus on domestic races and limit her international travel and competition.
"I have made my decision. I am not retiring!" said Nash in a letter posted on the Luna Team's site. "It has been a super amazing 12 years with the Luna Pro Team, and I'm staying on for year number 13. There will be big changes ahead of me for sure, but let's start from the beginning."
Throughout this season, many including Nash herself, thought this would be her final one.
"Last year, I decided that 2013 would be my last season of international racing. So this relieved a little bit of the pressure and I just had fun racing and riding my bike. But now this year turned out to be my best season yet. Maybe the relaxed approach translated into good results and maybe it was just another year of consistent training added to many years of hard training."
"That's the thing about endurance racing. If you are healthy, you can keep improving and keep getting great results. I have been lucky that way, but I've never forgotten other dreams. For last couple of years, I have been thinking about those other things more and more."
Nash won her first-ever mountain bike World Cup round in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada this August, at age 35.
Unlike many athletes, who switch between teams during their careers, Nash has enjoyed a long tenure with Luna. "I have spent an incredible 12 seasons with the Luna Pro Team and traveled the world with a group of amazing people. We fought hard and won many races all around the world. We have been pushing each other to improve results, while also competing as a team."
Nash considered the 2014 UCI World Cup and the extensive travel involved in doing it when making her decision. "The 2014 UCI World Cup schedule really became a "whole World" Cup, where we visited every continent except Antarctica. I then knew my focus would be changing. It's not easy to give up on the international racing, but then thinking about all the hours spent on airplanes made it easier to decide. I still very much like racing and spending time with my team and that's why I couldn't completely quit after this season."
The Czech native, who lives in the US, described her intentions for racing in 2014. "I will be competing at many domestic races, some that I have done before and some I haven't done before. I will most likely compete in couple of World Cups, and I will continue racing cyclo-cross in America. Therefore, you will still see plenty of me and will have good reason to cheer for another season."
"At the same time, I'm starting to chase the other life dream of working for the company that has been on my radar for a very long time; Clif Bar." Clif Bar makes Luna bars, the title sponsor of Nash's teams.
"I will post my racing schedule for next year as soon as it gets finalized and, for all you know, we may line up next to each other at one of those big events like Leadville 100," promised Nash.