Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Monday ski touring with Allen

There’s and asterisks in the title for a reason.  It’s well into December now, definitely training season again, and although I’ve been putting in some moderate 20hr weeks I absolutely do not feel like I’ve been training. That being said I most definitely find myself in a shape other than round…
Wednesday singletrack
I’ve got this fortuitous upward movement, which I think arose after my recent revulsion of the paradigm I spent last year using. Lately, training has equated to backcountry faceshots on bluebird powder days, a short lived ski racing comeback, breathtaking December singletrack, long road rides with friends, trail runs that last for hours and gym work that is making me feel like a more balanced human-being (I will never be Arnold, but hopefully the T-Rex arms and shoulder problems will disappear).
But its not merely powder skiing and being beaten by middle-schoolers that is making me feel so good right now, but a more profound something they are feeding. Someone close to me calls it happiness training… and seems pretty straightforward. It’s powerful, and honest, and transformative. It goes beyond the efforts I make during training; it is embodied in balanced life I am choosing and the people I am surrounding myself with.
This Fall was restorative for me, and positioned me to find myself in this calm right now. I’d been training and playing enough to hide most indications of my dark beer and cookie diet, but after taking a couple weeks away from formal training during the first half of Movember I finally felt like I needed to start working again. I spent ten days over Thanksgiving visiting family and friends while training on my favorite roads back in Washington. After that, and a visit from my close friend (and fellow Olympic dreamer) Corrine, I’ve got my body and head moving in a new direction looking toward the 2013 season. This paradigm shift makes this pursuit feel more sustainable and authentic… two feelings that breed lots of happiness. Absolutely none of what I am doing feels remotely like the cold, winter drudgery that can arise out of base training. I feel (and hope) I am on the way to the best condition of my life. And it’s got me convinced that I am into something brilliant.
Wednesday singletrack
Sunday faceshots

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Its snowing where I am

I am watching it snow and I’ve got a cold. It must be November. I haven’t ridden my bike in 3 days, and do not intend to before next week. The only thing I'm planning to do is drink tea, sit next to the fire and nap. Then I'll make a whiskey soda, dinner with my friends and resume sitting next to the fire. Tuesday I left my house for a total of 45min to get groceries. I might go to some hot springs tonight… that’s assuming I don’t start the napping thing at 3pm on my couch and just migrate to my bed for the night when I wake up. It must be my off-season. I’m savoring this right now, I only get a handful of days off every year.
After Marathon Nationals in September I continued to train, anticipating a trip to Michigan for Iceman Cometh. It was looking good until about 10 days before the race, I still had good fitness, and after a month at home I had begun repairing my shattered head. But some logistical walls came up and I didn’t end up making the trip, which was certainly a disappointment. Instead, I rode in a silent Yellowstone Park Saturday with Marshall Opel and the rest of the Montana peloton (meaning a buffalo herd), and Sunday I went out with Sophie (Pete’s sister…) to ride the Continental Divide Trail. Which is absolutely one of the most enjoyable trails I’ve ever ridden... Good company helps. It was hardly a compromise, but instead another incredible weekend in what seems like a brilliant series of weekends I’ve had since getting back to Bozeman.
The best part about training for Iceman was that it was an excuse for me to go do awesome stuff in the mountains of Montana. I spent 4 breathtaking days in the Beartooth Mountains backpacking with the ‘rents. I can’t really say anything other than that. Words and photos just don’t do those mountains justice. The riding has been phenomenal, and I’ve made a serious point of checking out some places I haven’t explored before. Some of those rides have been with friends, old and new, and the memories of others will stay between myself and the grizzly bears I found myself sharing the mountains with. Before November 1st I was already skinning up Bridger Bowl and getting snow in my face on the way down. And I’ve been running a lot too… usually with Sophie, who’s short legs always put my much longer ones to shame, in cool places around Bozeman. We tried to climb Cowen, but with the peak completely shrouded in clouds, ice and snow, our day just turned into an epic 6hr wintery run (one that started way too early in the morning, especially after spending the night trying to sleep in the back of a Subaru). We ran the Bridger Ridge a couple weeks ago now too, in a windstorm… and on that day not only did I get beaten up by Soph, but Oli, her neighbors Corgi, also beat me to the parking lot. His legs are probably 3 inches long. Humbling.
There’s been a lot of that happening in my life really… the whole humility thing. Everywhere I turn, I run into friends I haven’t seen in months, all of whom are still the intelligent, good, honest, exciting, comic, adventurous, loving folks I remember them to be. I find myself surrounded by brilliant people and things to do. Many are new and all of whom I appreciate so so much. This is stuff that makes a life. 
And I feel like that’s what I’ve been trying to get good at again… Life. I’ve had to reestablish myself here after a season away. I’ve had to find a meaningful routine, and reciprocate to the people who give me so much. I think I’m finding various degrees of success with the thing as a whole. Its kind of been a grand jump into the ocean, some of the waves I’ve ridden pretty well, and others with a little less grace and triumph. I am happy here in Bozeman again, I can’t really see myself being anywhere else… and although my heartstrings are being pulled, it’s not by the allure of something or somewhere else as they have in the past. Probably what’s most telling is that the snow falling outside my window is my signal that its time to start training again soon, and I’m smiling.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Figuring it out

This time I am not writing from an airplane… I am watching the road stretch out in front of me instead, along the Colombia, headed back to Bozeman after racing Marathon National Champs yesterday in Bend, OR. It was a fitting place to bring my season more or less to an end (I may still try to go race Ice Man in early Nov). I was back in the sagebrush and Cascade mountains where it all started for me (in eastern Washington) all those years ago, road tripping, surrounded by family and good friends. Although my Dad wasn’t able to make it down, it brought me back to my roots. Wrenching on my own bike the night before the race and searching out generous souls who were willing to drive from one feed zone to the next for me out there. It was reminiscent of a time when everything was new… this being the first time I have ever done a Marathon race, I had no idea what to expect, no idea how to approach the race. This brought back memories of my first WIM races, first Sea Otter and first National Championships. This trip came at the end of a season where I breathed this sport, not always out of passion, but because it was my job… and as I’ve mentioned before, a lot changes when your escape becomes the means to a living. A lot of the purity in pedaling gets obscured. This season I was distanced from all those things that made this whole endeavor resonate for me in the beginning, which at times broke me completely… and although I know the experience will serve me well in the future, it felt good to be home racing simply because.
As I sit here reflecting on what I experienced this season I am humbled and oh so aware of what a lucky duck I am. I am beyond grateful to all the people who helped me get to this point, and though my first season as a professional. My parents and innumerable amazing friends and family in Bozeman, Wenatchee, Colorado and around the world, David, Alex, my teammates, Julien and the Taramacaz family, everyone at BMC, Marc and all those USAC people who believed in me and helped get me to this point… Jason, who told me 8 years ago I could do this and be one of the best (I don’t know if I believed him then, but I do now)… the cycling communities in Washington and Montana. None of us could be successful in what we do without these essential networks that support and inspire us. And I think over the past few years, I don’t know how many really, with so much focus given to school and cycling, I didn't always demonstrate my appreciation for all these incredible people in my life. Thank you, for all you all do. I hope I can make it more personal to each of you soon.
This season was so challenging because I was away from all those people… and with this seasons chapter closing, what I am vastly more aware of is that it isn’t necessarily where you are but who you are with that creates valuable experiences (only in some semblance of solitude was I able to really understand that). Reflecting, my most cherished racing moments are road trips with my dad to the next event, bonking with Gian Dalle on Blewett Pass, blasting Daft Punk in Northern Arizona with Mitch on the way to Bonelli and Fontana, eating cheep Mexican food with Lydia in SoCal, riding with the National Team in Kirchzarten, and winning Nationals with my friends and family waiting at the finish line. What stands out are not the places or scenery or results, but whom I was with. I think back about the moments that I will carry with me after this year, and likely waking Keegan up at 2 am after being gone for 5 months will stick with me more than being the top American in Houffalize. Because what is a victory or ‘success’ if you can’t share it with those closest to you?
By saying all this, I realize I am putting myself at risk of being called a hypocrite, as I am sure I take off for another long trip or move to a new town at some point in the not too distant future. But I guess I’ll have a better idea of what I need to hold onto and look for when I make those choices, and I’m more aware of the perspective I need to maintain in order to keep this pursuit rewarding and fulfilling. That feels good.
Keeping all that in mind, I am really looking forward to next year... I think not only do I have some of this big stuff figured out, but I have a lot of the little stuff worked out too. Where and how to live, what I need around me, cell phones, bank accounts... all the details that make it click. I know the dynamic of our team, and I am looking forward to racing with Julien Absalon next year. I enjoy the people I find myself around, and look forward to spending my time in Freiburg instead of Valais next year. But for right now, I need some time to rest my weary head, and I think I can find that in the mountains of Montana and Washington. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Montana: Land of goats, sunburns and epics

There is something about chasing goats around in the brush and getting sunburnt while building a fence line that is incredibly refreshing after spending the past 6 months with my nose to the grindstone. Riding with juniors on CX bikes (and getting dropped), finding myself lost in the mountains of Montana, running out of food and water with good friends on epic MTB rides, and elk tacos all also seem to bring me back to my roots and stir my motivation.
We all have different things that inspire us to get out of bed in the morning and motor along with our days… for some it’s their kid’s futures, for others money, but I think for the majority of us its a little less tangible… because we have some sort of visceral desire to contribute to society in some way, and find pleasure in the ways we go about our routines. I know personally I lost sight of that over the past 6 months. Or maybe I didn’t loose sight so much as I lost the feeling that what I was doing was somehow contributing to something larger than myself, and I know that I wasn’t always finding pleasure in my routine while living abroad. Even with phenomenal teammates and support from BMC,  because many of the things/people/ideas that enrich life were halfway around the globe, living in Switzerland, living to train and race, started to feel pretty unrewarding at times. I know that probably seems kinda ridiculous to someone who works in the real world… but when a passion and escape become the means to a paycheck, a lot of things get pretty muddled up. And when that passion is all you invest your energy in, well it means it can no longer be an escape. And that’s a damn stressful way to live. So after getting sick in MSA, riding like shit at Windham and Nationals, spending a week on antibiotics and sleeping, I’ve been trying to find a more healthy space to for training and racing to occupy in my life.
Two weeks chasing goats around 10 acres at Allen’s house, building fence, clearing brush and getting sunburnt was my first step in that. I took 10 days off the bike, took some antibiotics, and used my body in a way that it wasn’t used to. I was bug-bitten, sunburned, scratched and sore, and I haven’t felt so good in a while. Once I started to feel healthy again I decided to go exploring with Pete and Lydia on mountain bikes…. And did we explore! We were totally lost as we headed up toward Elkhorn Pass southeast of Big Sky, but somehow amidst what seemed like dozens of unmarked game and horse trails we ended up on the right one. We climbed and climbed toward the wilderness, and away from the rest of the world. We found some amazing descending and then by chance, nearly 2 hrs into a ride, a sign that showed us the way to our own mortality. As we climbed up a muddy, horse wrecked Buffalo Horn trail to what I think was Porcupine Lake, we all decidedly ran out of water and food. It was one of those days where you pass through hunger and into exhaustion and come out on the other side stronger than you were at the beginning. Your body finds a way to make itself go… it’s a transcendent feeling. At the end of an hour-long, Star Wars descent down Porcupine trail, we all seemed to have immense smiles on our faces and ample energy for high fives, wheelies and stoke. I don’t think I’ve ridden anything that cool in a long, long time. The ride took us no less than 6 hrs and the only people we saw had backpacked in from a much closer Tom Miner on the other side of the Gallatin Crest, and gave us strange looks. It was brilliant…
Since then I have slowly started to get back into a rhythm on the bike and in my day to day life. Coffee, goats, breakfast, ride, nap, town, BBQ with friends, goats. It feels really damn good. And I finally feel healthy and strong again. My legs aren’t the hollow shells they were 3 weeks ago, nor do I carry the mental fatigue that plagued me at the end of May and into June.
I also had the opportunity to go up to Helena and hang out with a bunch of super talented Junior CX racers at a USAC camp run by Geoff Proctor this week. I have a lot of confidence in the future of US Cycling after that. It was humbling. Those kids are fast… and they work hard. They are all so much further along in their development and the opportunities that have been presented to them than I was at their age. Some of them are already killing it over in Europe and are only 16 or 17 years old. I didn’t go to Europe until I was 18, and I had my ass handed to me over there until last year when I was 22… I know we all have a different trajectory, but no matter what, those are the kids who will soon be earning the US medals at World Cups and World Championships. It was inspiring to see them riding so hard, and having so much fun doing it. If we could all hold onto that as we grow in this sport, powerful things could happen. I’m going to try by continuing to put off building up the SLR01 that showed up on my doorstep the other day. Proud to say that over the past 10 days of training, I’ve ridden single track each day… and I’m better for it!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Taking the long way home

I’m pretty sure I didn’t sleep at all last night... it wasn’t for lack of trying however. I went to bed at a little after midnight knowing that in an hour or two my teammates would come home from the post-world cup party we were at and proceed to wake me up. So of course, once that seed was planted I didn’t sleep. And then once things did quiet down around two, I laid in bed awaiting the sound of my alarm set at three. Yes, your math is correct, that means I was in bed for about two and a half hours. On the bright side it meant that I arrived in Albany with Marc and the US Devo kids with plenty of time to catch the earlier flight to Newark from Albany; an opportunity for fifteen or twenty minutes of sleep. And I surely slept on the hard, dirty, carpeted floor of the C-Terminal at Newark International airport for at least twenty more minutes during the eight plus hours I just spend in that godforsaken airport. I’m currently somewhere above Indiana I think... en-route to my other least favorite airport, Chicago O’Hare... Where I hope I don’t get to spend the night. My itinerary has changed twice today... not to mention delayed a dozen times or more. I hope my bags show up sometime tomorrow... Its not like I expect to be awake at all though. It’s a little comforting to know that my competition this coming weekend at US Nationals is all going through the exact same thing... Sounds like Sam might get to Missoula tomorrow. Not that I wish this on anyone, it's just good to know I'm not the only one living in airports today. I’m kinda proud of how cool I’ve kept through the day to be completely honest. I’m not sure if I am somewhat admirably coming to realize that there are much more important things to worry about (normally I’d be throwing internal temper tantrums if I was sitting on the tarmac for two hours) or if I just don’t have the energy. I’m kinda thinking it’s the latter. Perhaps though it’s just a comic and fitting way for the universe to get me home. My final destination is a couch in Bozeman, and after nineteen weeks (yes, that’s like four and half months) of being away, what is six more hours really going to do? Nada. It’s been the story of my season up to this point; long drawn out fights getting where I want to go. Whether that means the Olympic selection coming down to the final World Cup and a completely discretionary selection... or examining where I am (physically and emotionally), what I am doing and where I am going... Finding value and substance as I enter this new phase of my life... assessing how to use my energy... All of these and more have been good fights, but none that have come easily this spring. But now as we enter the Dog Days of Summer on this July first, I am in different place than I was when I left cold Montana all those months ago. Its come at a high price but, just as the snow has likely melted off the Bridgers, I feel like some heavy things have melted away into my past too... I feel like there is some clarity. I’ve got a better grasp on where my roots have grown... what’s keeping me upright. I had a pretty miserable reintroduction to North America the past ten days. I bounced off a lot of trees and did some penguin slides in the mud in Mont-Ste-Anne, and after being sick all week in New York my legs decided they didn’t want to go go go like I wanted them to. After two laps I saw the writing on the wall and pulled the plug with eerily little hesitation. Time will tell what happens at Nationals and at the Missoula Pro XCT. I know I have it in me to make some crazy good things happen... but maybe this whole Visa overstay is a blessing in disguise, because it means that instead of going back over to alonely apartment and bouncing off trees at the back of a world cup, ill get to take some time off the bike, backpack a little bit and then spend 4 weeks training at home, at altitude for what its worth, before making a final push for the final couple BMC Cups in Switzerland and World Championships. The way I see it, no matter what, amazing can happen both on and off the bike. That is clear too.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

staying up until the sunrises is sometimes the best training

So after that little trip I took up to Zermatt, I came to realize I had zero matches left. I was completely exhausted mentally from 3 months of my little apartment, thousands of miles away from my friends, and 6 months of eat, sleep, train. When I arrived on the starting line in Bern at the beginning of June for the Swiss Bike Trophy, I had nothing to give. Its been a couple, few years since I got pulled in a race, and although some crazy rain made the course a complete mess and impossible to ride in places, that wasn't the reason I didn't finish. I just didn't want to be there, I just didn't want to be racing. I wasn't finding anything redeeming in it for myself. I wanted to go ride sweet trails, drink beer, bbq and be a "normal person" for a bit. I needed  it. I don't know if I've ever been in that place before, it was really uncomfortable and I was seriously examining the value in racing my bike in circles considering my limited time and energy.
Generally I am pretty resourceful, so I called up my friend Felix who lives in Freiburg, and made plans to spend a few days just hanging out riding trails with him. Allen was also coming through Frankfurt on his way home from Russia and I considered cruising up and catching him up there for a few beers too. I just needed anything but my apartment and Valais.
I woke up that wednesday to rain... and although I was still very unsure about whether it would be worth my time to drive up to Frankfurt seeing as how I would be back in Bozeman in a couple weeks time, but I told myself I had nothing better to do and that it wouldn't be something I ended up regretting. I threw my bags and bike into my car before I had time to think any more about the 6 hr drive.
Long story short, after I picked allen up and the airport, we got lost in the red light district of Frankfurt, ate thai food and wondered around drinking beer. And its something I won't ever regret. I slept perhaps 3 hrs max, before we got up to watch the sun rise, drink coffee and then find our way back to the airport. Its a little trip I will remember for the rest of my life... nothing particularly special happened, but it happened at the right time in my life and with my best friend.
I backtracked down to Freiburg and  spend four days riding exclusively awesome single track with Felix, fueled by all that comes with a lack of sleep, espresso, ice cream, and endorphins. I think we were on the  mountain bike for 15 hrs over 4 days, and it was all trail I had never ridden before, even after spending each of the past 4 summers in the area... We only rode in the afternoons, because we were staying up each night until the skies would begin to brighten with the approach of morning. My circadian rhythm and body was pissed at the end of it, but I haven't had such a rewarding 4 days in a long ass time.
After spending all week recovering from the trip (bed at 10pm, waking at 11am) I showed up in Grenichen last weekend ready to rip. I was having a lot of fun with the team, and the course was awesome. I for the first time since probably Houffalize I genuinely had fun racing my bike. And it showed. I finished 15th, which on the surface doesn't sound so hot, but 8 of the worlds top 10 were on the starting line, and the other guys in front of me were all capable of top 15 rides in a world cup. I was stoked. I felt better than I have all season, and I think that is only going to continue to improve.
Tuesday we flew to Quebec, which brought me 6 time zones closer to home. And perhaps for the first time there was something redeeming about the sight of walmart. It at least meant I was on the right continent... Even if the language is still french.
We will see when I get back over to Europe... the olympic team has been announced, and I have no hard feelings whatsoever about not being chosen. I think I could have put in a ride as good as anyone, and my results this season have shown that. But I know Todd has the experience, and Sam has a bright future too. Im happy for those guys and will  totally be cheering for them on Aug 12! In addition to that, the Federal Police in Zurich pulled me aside as I was trying to pass though customs tuesday and told me I had over stayed my visa in Europe by 4 days... so as it stands now I can't go back until Aug 22. That means I miss the final World Cup in Val D'Isere, but means I might be able to sneak in a little mid summer backpacking trip after racing at the Missoula Pro XCT and will give me ample time to kick it in bozone, and ride epic trails before prepping for the final few BMC Cups and World Championships. It also means I have an apartment in Switzerland full of stuff that would do me much more good on this side of the pond as I start trying to find a place to live in Bozeman again...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

finding my head space, and a little elbow room

My body is tired and sore. No I didn't race this week, I didn't even ride a bike until today... but I put some serious kilometers and elevation behind me, and the best part is that it was all on foot! Some of my earliest memories, both good and bad, involve trucking down a trail in the woods. You see, in my parents previous lifetimes were both climbing bums... my dad has first accents in the Himalayas to his name, and for a while my mom was an Outward Bound instructor. And in order to insure they were able to continue pursuing their shared passion for getting lost in the woods once they settled down and started a family, growing up I more than once got to dress up in a swimsuit and raincoat with plastic bags around my feet and hike through rainstorms. Memories like that, as well as arguably brighter ones like standing on top of Mt. Rainier, climbing Prussic Peak,  summiting Mt. Hood, sweating up Asgard Pass with Allen and our 70lb packs and breaking ice still incapsulating alpine lakes to go swimming, vividly stick with me, and are some of my most cherished. Those trips instilled a deep passion for hiking and backpacking in me... one that is arguably stronger than my passion on the bike. There is just nothing as humbling and fundamental to me as finding myself alone and surrounded by peaks as old and imposing as time itself.
And after the World Cup in La Bresse, thats exactly what I needed... an escape! Its not that things didn't go well in La Bresse, they actually went quite well. I was 36th again, just like in Houffalize, this time just behind Sam and JB. I did exactly what I think I needed to in order to keep myself in the Olympic conversation. Now its just up to the selection committee... and I have no control over that. But by this point in the season, I have been training for six months, racing for three, and I was in need of a break mentally more than anything.
So where better to go than the Matterhorn... the town of Zermatt. I wanted to do some iconic swiss touristing... And thats exactly what I got. I went with the intention of getting away from my bike, and just finding a place to relax mentally; to hike in the presence of mountains that would take my breath away. I wanted to do something different with my body and go places my bike couldn't take me. And I found some of that... for sure... but I also found myself surrounded by Asian tourists having snowball fights, hiking for 4 hrs and then having trucks drive past or gondolas soar over my head, and in the presence of excess everywhere. I took the cog rail up the Gornergant, and sunburnt my forehead... I hiked along the mountain paths under the radiant sun and Matterhorn... I took tons of photos and I ate 25CHF pizza and 8CHF ice cream.

It's not to say that I didn't enjoy myself... I did completely, and I am so glad I went, because ultimately I've come home ready to start training again. It just wasn't exactly what I expected... I'm in a much better place mentally, than I was just a week ago... I'm no longer tired and a little bored. But Zermatt and the Matterhorn experience just wasn't as powerful as I had hoped it might be. It lacked some sort of authenticity amongst the throngs of people and video cameras. I don't have words to describe the beauty of those mountains, and on Friday when I was really able to get good and away, ditching the trail and wondering up a glacial moraine below the Matterhorn, I was totally spellbound. And then as I approached town on my way home, I again left the trail and found my own little beach in the sun along the river where I was able to swim, eat chocolate and read my book... after all, my mother would be totally disappointed to find out I didn't jump into freezing water when the opportunity presented itself. In the end, I think I like the solitude of the North Cascades a little better :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

From Czech with... well disappointment

I am a little confused about this weekend. I had amazing legs. I know the fitness is absolutely there. But I don’t know if everyone else it just more fit, or my inability to establish a rhythm was the problem. That’s what I feel like the issue was... After an amazing start where I launched myself up into the top 20, I just know I have what it takes to have an amazing race, but I feel like the circumstances, i.e. dealing with traffic, high-speed road sections, having to get on and of the bike, just threw off any sort of rhythm I would have otherwise hoped to establish. I feel like if I had been able to just settle in and have my race, things could have gone completely differently. I always felt like I was racing at someone else’s tempo, slower on the climbs than I would have liked, faster on the descents that I was able to go. And it meant I was constantly at the back of groups, missing moves that were able to move forward and bridge to groups further up. I guess that’s something to chock up into the memory and utilize in the future. I need to stay at the front of these groups instead of being content at the back hoping I get dragged along going forward. the more I can learn the better equipped I will be next time around.

For certain the elites are faster than the U23’s… but I remembered this race playing out with lots of 2-3 person groups separated by 10-15 seconds, a hard race for sure, but one where I was able to race my race… not someone else’s. And that just certainly wasn’t the case this year. I felt like I was always in a group with 8-10 people until the last lap and a half when things finally started to blow up. I think part of that was conditions too, people stuck together because there was a fairly long high-speed road section where it was important to be in a group with the wind. But with just one or two people you work together, in a group of ten people just sit and then attack once the road is over. I have never been very good at that type of racing. I like to be able to dictate my own pace and just go. I can leave it all out there that way. So although certainly there were moments when I was 110% out there, I feel like I averaged maybe 90%. And that’s not good enough to have a good world cup result. It takes 100% the whole time.

Going downhill like a small child doesn’t help either. And I don’t really know what that was about. I stayed off the brakes as much as possible, took the lines that the guys faster than me were taking, but alas I just couldn’t ever find my ability to shred. I guess I just need to think about how to race at other peoples pace better. I think that takes a lot of mental energy, but its there, I just need to tap into that.

I crossed the finish line feeling completely unsatisfied. There were bright spots (awesome start and legs), but it was mostly a race that was full of lack-luster moments. I’m ultimately pretty disappointed because last year I had such a stellar race here. But I feel more focused right now that I did going into the weekend… and my eyes are more fixed on the Olympics than ever. I’d like to believe that if I can put together a stellar race in France, I solidify my potential as an Olympic candidate, which is ultimately what I am after and all I can extend my control over… from there its just up to selection committee. I think Sam locked it up this weekend, and Todd finally showed his cards too, but I don’t think it was any more impressive than my result in Houffalize. I’m ready to learn from this and see what I can do before this big spring campaign is over this coming weekend in La Bresse. I think it would be a little tough to be motivated if it weren’t for the fact that it’s a World Cup and I have incredible fitness right now! I’ve just gotta keep thinking about that. Maybe this is the swift kick in the ass I need for this coming weekend. It’ll sure help me keep my eyes on the prize for one more week!