Cramming a Rushed 2016

liv-profile

Hello 2017! As an Accountant it’s hard to even think it’s already been another full circle around the sun while still dealing with 2015.  I’m sure I’ll put the wrong year down when dating documents for the first few months.  Then my body & mind will adjust and it will be 2018.  It’s a scary concept of how fast time flies. I was supposed to write a blog 10 different times within the last seven months, and each time I would put the blog off and then now here we are.  Another year, another season, a whole other person.

In seven months since I wrote the last blog a lot of exciting, sad, and funny stuff has happened, and why haven’t I written anything down? Who knows! laziness, too busy with work/training, spending too much time with Dale.  There are lots of excuses! 😉

To be honest though every time I sat down to write a blog about the awesome race I had just done I came up with no words.  Social media and race’s social media teams seem to cover the main bases… 1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place, badass, or single-track ninja. What else is there to talk about?

 

transylvania-epic
Transylvania Epic was my first Stage Race overall win.  Below I have posted interviews Thom Parsons did for Dirtwire TV with the daily race updates.

 

 

A lot actually!! This past year I raced harder and had more accomplishments than I ever have before.  It was a great year of racing.  I took home some big wins, a lot of podiums, a huge belt buckle, and new titles within the MTB/cyclocross race scene. On top of all of that I worked full time as an accountant and took on more roles and learned more than I ever thought I could in one year.  This time last year I was a college graduate with two grad degrees looking to burn my name into this world’s surface.  Maybe I got close, or maybe I just got the surface ready! I’m not sure!

Either way I’m thankful for those who believed in me and pushed me to have a full race schedule, believed in me even when I laughed at the possibilities, and the best boss lady out there that has taken me under her wing and forced me “to think, and use my brain” all while still believing in my dream and letting me travel all over the place!

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BC Bike Race was one of the highlights of the season! So much loam, beauty, and there is no other stage race with the experience that BC Bike Race can offer!
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Photos by Todd Weselake

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With that being said, I have had some great results, I’m training harder than ever, working harder than ever, and I consider myself a somewhat professional mountain biker.   What’s next?  We all ask ourselves this, and especially at this time of year we wonder how can this year be better than the last?

That question has caused many sleepless nights, a few tears, and a couple of panic attacks.  I will be the first one to let you know this is not healthy!  I think though a lot of athletes battle with this.  You put all this effort forward and worry if it will pay off.  What if I can’t do this good again? Is this my ceiling?

Who knows! There’s actually no answer to that! As an accountant it’s easy (well not easy per say)  to get a definite answer, but as a professional mountain biker there is no answer.  The common denominator though is that both require hard work and passion.

 

double-dare
Double Dare with Kevin this year was the best one yet.  24 hour race time and we even finished day 1 in the overall lead

 

I’ve hit a spot in my life where I feel like I’m giving 50% to my job and 50% to my training and it feels like it’s never enough.  Really though what’s happening is I’m doing just what everyone else is doing and that’s giving 100% to everything, and it’s just not getting any easier.  What’s the saying, “It never get’s easier, you just get faster.”

One thing to keep in mind though is the reason you’re working so hard, and I had to remind myself of that.  I work at a job that doesn’t pay as big as a big accounting firm, but I love the people I work for and I love my boss.  The potential to grow there is exponential! In cycling I started all this as a hobby and it increasingly became about results, training, and sponsorship.

I’ve been reminded this week by friends why it is I love biking in the first place.  If I was never sponsored I would still go biking all the time and want to travel the world and see it by bike.  Some of my best, most humbling, spiritual, and freeing moments have been on the bike.  I love biking and I love what it has brought to my life.  A whole new world of friends and family, and accomplishments.

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So what’s next? Well the possibilities are as far or short as I want to work for them!

Luckily I do have the best sponsors, friends, and family one could ask for.  Harpers Bike Shop has been the most amazing sponsors an athlete could ask for.  Not only do they go above and beyond to help with my sponsorship with LIV/Giant, but they are friends that listen to me, manage my racing/bike, and have been the back bone to my successful year.  I will never be able to thank Jon and Shawn enough.  A successful bike shop is one that cares and loves what they do and they are the best representation of that.

 

shawn-and-jon
Sometimes I wonder what this season would have been like with out Shawn and Jon, and I know for sure it would not be as fun!

 

Joe Peeden has been the man behind the success.  He’s coached me for 2 solid seasons and I think the improvement can show just how much he has helped me out.  Podium Sports Medicine is a crucial tool to an athlete here in Knoxville, and I’m lucky that Kevin Sprouse is willing to help me out.  Also of course the equipment is just another piece of the puzzle.  My LIV Lust was a racing beast on it’s Nox Composites Skyline rims laced up with Industry Nine buzz worthy hubs. The Giant reign on the Nox Composites Farlow rim laced up with I9 hubs is the finest bike I own.  If I’m ever struggling to remember how fun bikes are I pull it out, and it’s carried me to the top step of my first enduro races this year.

 

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A very successful cross season was made possible by Podium Sports Medicine, I9, Nox Composites, Giant Bicycles, and Harpers Bike Shop! Also those Stoke Signal socks are the Sh*t

 

 

 

enduro-bike
So Enduro Bro!

 

I’ve posted some photos throughout this post of the racing I’ve done throughout the season and below I’ve posted the links to Thom Parson’s interviews with me at Transylvania Epic.

 

montana
Last but not least to Thank is the Zirkle family! I got to stay for a month in Big Sky, MT with Ewa and John to train for Breck Epic and had a blast.  Zirkle travels to most all of my races to join in on the fun himself, and has become my race dad over time.

 

Cheers to 2016 and bring on 2017!! Much love and thank you to all my friends and especially my family for all their support!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dale, because Gordon is right, "You didn't forget him! Like all the best sponsors he just didn't get bossy for recognition. He's invested in YOU and everything else is just cake. That dale!"
Dale, because Gordon is right, “You didn’t forget him! Like all the best sponsors he just didn’t get bossy for recognition. He’s invested in YOU and everything else is just cake. That dale!”
Dale being the best race crew out there!!
Dale being the best race crew out there!!