Ah, the new year. A time when you can’t help but reflect and make some sort of commitment to the betterment of self!
2013 has seen my final (at least for now) collegiate cycling seasons with Cyclocross Nationals and BMX Nationals as highlights. It’s also brought my first season of racing cyclocross on my own. I knew that not being on a team would present its own challenges, I’ve been lucky to have the guidance of a coach for my entire time cycling. I also didn’t want to waste the season: my fitness, skills, time, and money are too valuable to have a mediocre season. I didn’t want to lose fitness, and personally need the external motivation and accountability that a coach and training plan provide. Balancing school and work with cycling is nothing new, but I wanted the time I spent training and racing to really matter. Learning from my almost non-existent summer mountain bike season, I knew things would have to change for cross season.
Lucky, I was able to get my former collegiate coach, Hugh, to be my coach for this season! Hugh limits the number of private clients he takes on so he can focus on their development in additional to coaching the Mars Hill Cycling team. I can’t say enough how having a training plan and coach helped me. Sure, there were days I slacked off, and workouts that were missed. But then there were days that I got over myself and did it anyway. And then there were the days that I was super excited about my training sessions and made it count even more!
Looking back at my cross races from this season, I made a few mistakes. I got upset and raced stupid. I lost focus and made technical errors. My barriers were terrible at the beginning of the season, I’ve never wrecked trying to dismount so many times! I even had my first major racing wreck (at the Mars Hill race nonetheless)! But when I worked all those things out, and let each race be a lesson, I had good races! I felt like I was racing were I should be, I was smart, and I wasn’t disappointed with my result. It excites me to think about where I’ll be next year with more riding, more training, more racing knowledge under my belt.
So all in all, I’m pleased with my season. For the next year I’m going to keep building, keep learning, and keep improving. I know it’s a long, steady road. As much as I wish it was quick and easy, it’s not. My genetics, time, and priorities aren’t going to lead to pro-cyclocrosser Laura. But they’ll take me far enough.
I used to make all sorts of goals and resolutions for the new year. But my birthday, start of the school year, and work anniversaries provide much better opportunities for goal setting. So I’ve learned to choose a word for the year. Last year my word was “achieve.” I lived up to it, achieving long time goals, and succeeding in my first year of full-time employment in my field. This year I’m choosing “control” as my word. Oh no, a type-A personality choosing to focus on control?! Yes, control. With more control on my time, food consumption, work tasks, school tasks, cycling time, social interactions and personal balance I know I can rise even farther up, and hopefully develop some good habits along the way!
So here’s to 2014, you’re looking bright!