Yesterday I had a great conversation with Michael Engleman from the US Women's Cycling Development Program. We talked about how to get me into the pro scene and all the women the USWCDP has helped along the way. I couldn't believe how helpful he was to a complete stranger. He also was so encouraging of aggressive racing styles and took some pressure off, saying that even if you don't get in the top three in big races, when teams see you constantly attack or make bold moves to go with or bring back the pack, they take note. Nobody wants a team of pack filler.
After chatting for a half hour about the potential composite teams, coaching, and training the USWCDP had generously offered to athletes, he said the only requirement the USWCDP has of athletes is to give back down the road. How incredible is that?!
I'll keep you updated on those developments down the road, but for now I thought I might share my story. Michael requested that I revise my cycling resume to include a little bio story. He said teams like to read about the cyclist's story, especially when they don't have big results yet.
So here's my story:
When I began my cycling career in the summer of 2009, I had no idea what lay ahead—all I knew was that I wanted to compete, I wanted to win, and I wanted to go far. Although I had already experienced success in life—a full running scholarship to a Division I college, a Master’s in English, a fulfilling career as an instructional designer, a spot on the All-Star team for the Rat City Rollergirls (a roller derby league ranked 3rd in the nation)—I wanted more. A friend suggested I attend a track class at the local velodrome, and from there, my passion for cycling instantly skyrocketed.
My tolerance for pain learned from running combined with the fearlessness I developed in roller derby paved the way for my immediate success in the sport. After just a few months, I became a threat in the road racing scene and also qualified for Elite Track Nationals where I placed in the top ten in four events, taking home a third place medal in the Team Pursuit.
After nationals, for the first time in my career, I felt like I finally found my calling. I never had the right body type for a distance runner. At my job, my ideas were often “too creative” for most of my corporate clients. But in cycling, things just worked. I was hooked and determined to be the best, no matter how long that took and what I had to sacrifice.
After I returned from track nationals, I dedicated my winter to training for the 2010 road season: cycling to and from work, after work, on the weekends, in the rain, in the dark. My life was cycling, and my job became a means solely to pay for my cycling.
So far in 2010, my hard work has paid off. I have won 98% of my road races thus far, even soloing off the front on numerous occasions. I have proven that I have the engine to be great but still have much to learn about tactics, teamwork, and other areas that can only be learned by racing beyond the local level. I’m looking for the opportunity to listen, learn, and use my talents to help a team win and further develop myself as a cyclist.