I started road cycling when I was around 10. My dad and I would ‘train’ each summer by putting in 20-30 mile rides on the weekends along with the occasional fun ride like Wheel to Weston or the Lenexa Night ride. Our big goal was to complete the MS150 each fall. Back then it was 100 miles on Saturday then 50 miles on Sunday – which in my 10 year old mind was massive. I can’t say I loved nor hated it but cycling wasn’t nearly as high on the priority list as baseball or basketball which made for year round competition.
Around 19 my dad took me to a group ride and I’m fairly sure I got dropped before it even started. I didn’t know what had just happened but it peaked my interest with endurance sports and I started looking into triathlon. I’m not sure why I thought triathlon would be fun but I got the idea in my head that an Ironman would be a solid challenge. After a fall/winter of bike, run, swim (read: weeeee, thud, sink) I realized my happy place was on the bike. In the Spring I attempted to hang on to another group ride and hung on just a little longer (maybe 5 minutes). I was getting better but still had a long ways to go.
As I started doing more group rides I started to get a little faster and guys started talking to me about racing. I had no clue what bicycle racing was or how to get started, but I wanted to give it a shot.
One thing that I found weird about bike racing – if you don’t know somebody to help you get started this sport can be intimidating and there isn’t any clear cut way to get started. Eventually somebody convinced me all I had to do was show up, pay the entry fee, and race. Sounded simple enough but it still took a couple months before I finally just went for it.
My first race was the Baldwin City road race in 2008. I made it about half-way through before getting dropped from the group and finished 13th. My next race was the Cliff Drive circuit at TKC where I crashed on a wet downhill shortly after completing my first lap (120 psi is not good in rain I later learned). My last race for my grueling 2008 campaign was the Sedalia Criterium. I got caught behind a crash on lap 2 and couldn’t catch back on. From the few laps I actually got to be apart of the racing I was hooked.
I started training hard through the winter by lifting weights and riding my bike inside and outside as much as I could. The next season I started winning in the 5’s, then the 4’s, and by the end of 2009 I was getting my ass kicked in the 3’s. Once again I trained hard through the winter and came out guns blazing in 2010 by taking a handful of early podiums then really hitting my stride during the middle of the season and racking up a handful of wins. At the end of 2010 I upgraded to category 2. My first category 1/2 race was the Friday twilight race at Gateway Cup. It was a scary, awesome, and an adrenaline packed experience. The speeds and intensity were much higher than anything I had experienced before. It was great motivation to train hard once again through the winter.
In 2011 I was ready to rock but a hard early season crash at Hillsboro Roubaix shattered my clavicle and gave me my first real challenge in cycling. Racing was always challenging but learning to turn left again and get over the fear of crashing was much harder. I still had some great performances later in the season which opened up the opportunity to ride with the Tradewind Energy squad in 2012. Riding with Tradewind in 2012 and 2013 was full of learning experiences and challenges alike.
In 2014 I had another gnarly crash that knocked me out and put me the hospital for a couple days. I cracked a rib and punctured a lung but otherwise wasn’t too bad. When I got home and started looking at my shoulder I realized it looked really weird. I went to my chiropractor for x-rays and sure enough I had a full AC-seperation. I went in for surgery to have it repaired a few weeks later and pretty much ended my 2014 road season. I got back on the bike in July with strict orders not to crash. I got some decent fitness back around October so I decided to start riding my MTB again and even raced a few CX races.
It was rough taking a year off from racing but there is always positive to be found in any situation. I took the time to focus on some nagging overuse injuries and got those under control. I also was able to spend some extra time growing my business, Move Up Endurance Coaching. I’m stronger, healthier, and more motivated to race than I’ve been in quite some time. I’m super pumped to be racing with the Olathe Subaru crew in 2015. It’s going to be a great year!