As I gaze out over the countless miles of abounding, snow-crested mountain peaks somewhere over Colorado, I figured I could make worthwhile of my flight home from Oakland, California. I wanted to use this time to initiate my blog for the 2015 season and for seasons to come.
As I type, I am returning from my quick weekend in sunny California where apparently they are winning a game of hide-n-seek with old man winter. I was honored with being the recipient of the 2014 Trek All-Star Athlete Award from NICA (National Interscholastic Cycling Association). While there, we (my father and neighbor John Tillson, who himself received the Volunteer of the Year Award) got to enjoy an informal dinner Friday night with NICA staff, an awesome group ride with loaned bikes from Specialized, and some touring followed by the NICA Awards Banquet. I viewed this not only as my first official trip to Cali but also as an opportunity to scope out the coast I plan to return to numerous times for racing with the Whole Athlete Cycling Team; my new family of stud racers.
I couldn't have been more pleased to escape snow and 30 degrees for a not-so-winter wonderland on the west coast. With beautiful temperatures and scenery, it sparked a flame deep down inside of me that excited me for the racing and traveling to come this spring. All the mean while, I still had the worrisome anticipation about reading my recipient speech in front of basically anyone who was anyone that had involvement in getting more kids on bikes through NICA. After not only meeting but riding with the one-and-only Catharine Pendrel -2X Olympian, 2X XC World Champ, and multi-National Canadian Champ- I was enlightened by her humility and inspiring words later that afternoon. It was an honor to even stand on the stage in front of so many wonderful people, let alone to shake the hand and receive the award from the man who basically invented the idea of suffering on a bike-Gary Fisher, aka. The Godfather of MTB. He was expectedly and appropriately dressed in style and wearing a grin behind his handlebar mustache that many of the cycling industry have come to know. Thankfully, the speech went smooth and I believe I gained the acceptance of so many mountain-moving people in that room there in the Clif Bar HQ.
*BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!* This blog post about my Cali trip serves as my initiation to the blog world, as I plan to give post-race recaps and other hopefully entertaining stories this year. Last season, I officially stepped up into the truly competitive world of cycling and raced and multiple ProXCTs and participated in the 2 week European Race Camp with USAC. As a cherry on top, I was graciously invited to help represent the USA at the MTB XC World Championships in Hafjell, Norway. Wow, what a season it was. I hope to continue to strive upward and onward as I get adopted onto the Whole Athlete Team and I'm beyond excited to see where this season may go! Please, stay tuned!
With Catharine Pendral at the post-awards banquet ride.
Me and the pops at the Golden Gate Bridge.
Honored to receive my award from Gary Fisher. Photo: thecaliforniastory.com