Saturday, February 4, 2012


I spent last weekend in chilly Minneapolis for 3 days of meeting new teammates and sponsors.  Since I signed on  last summer, I knew most of the men's team already so it wasn't too difficult to match faces and names among the new riders.  The two major news items regarding the team are the title sponsor change and subsequent renaming of the team to Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies, and the addition of a women's team.  It's great to see women's teams get as much support as men's teams in cycling, and with the roster that the management has put together it promises to be a great year for both teams!

One of the meetings we had during our stay was 'media training', in which we learn how to be prepared for interviews and make the media work for us.  Part of that is to know your 'story' in a quick paragraph form so that they can get your background and thus relate you more to the audience.  The questions to be answered in this background include name, hometown, how you got to this point in your career, and whether you love what you do.  All are simple questions, and the last one just seems to be a softball lobbed up there so you can jokingly scoff and say, "are you kidding, I love my job!"

And I wouldn't be lying to answer the question like that.  During some downtime, though, I took a step back to gain some perspective and answer exactly why it is that I love racing my bike for a living.

I thought about the life I could have right now if I weren't racing. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Texas A&M (whoop!) with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.  If I'd simply signed on the dotted line and taken the job I had waiting for me, and even doubled my expenses from last year (saving the rest), I'd have ~$40,000 in my bank account right now.  But I don't care.

I like to joke that cycling is my job.  While at home this last month, I'd sigh as I walked out the door in my kit and tell my dad, "well, I've got to go to work...." In truth, it is my job.  But a paycheck doesn't make me any more competitive, any more driven than I already was.  If I had a desk job--and I've been there before--I'd spend every spare moment thinking about racing and training and sharpening my tanlines.  But now, I get to do that every day.

It's hard to fully appreciate health until you've lost it, or seen someone else fight to regain theirs. Every time I talk to my parents, I get the latest news from my dad about his latest test results, how his back is doing, whether he's coughing much, how he's feeling in general.  I look forward to the day that he's once again healthy enough that we can go on a bike ride like we used to--me telling him to hurry up, him telling me to hold my horses.

Whenever I start to feel stressed about training and racing, I just have to take a step back and realize how fortunate I am to be in this position and how ridiculous it is to be stressed out, and be reminded that I just need to have fun with it and never take anything for granted.

So, then, do I love my job?

You'd better believe I do.