What happened between then and now? I wasn't too far off of that old prediction was I? NRC's - check, making enough to pay for food between events - check. Maybe my motivation for living out of a car to make sure I got to the next big race dwindled just a smidge... okay, a ginourmous smidge.
When I was 15 and just hopping into the sport, I did not question whether or not I'd find myself a spot in the Tour De France, it was a given. Four times a day up a three mile, nine percent grade at full speed every time was going to assure me of that. Maybe that changed a smidge too.
Graduation from high school brought one heck of a decision. Try to find a way to give it a go at being a superhero on a bike or go into a real life. Since my idol of the last four years (Rusty Beall) was in college and still rocking out with the best in the U.S. on a bike, I figured why not do both at once. If he can do it, why can't I?
A few years later, I'd found myself delved into a regular life. College degree on its' way, a girlfriend that I supposed would turn into a wife, and a new found appreciation for beer and the all mighty dollar developed from working real jobs. 15 extra pounds of weight accumulated over a few years of less than full throttle racing told me that I'd been going in the wrong direction of what I had so feverishly worked for when I was younger. Wake up call for 185lb version of Mr. Weyen!
I quickly went back to work on all of the local hills and a huge increase in desire for going one mile an hour faster each time I climbed them fueled me. Soon enough, what I demanded was coming true. Only one major problem presented itself, graduation. What was this whole real world thing anyways? Turns out that the answer to that question is ever changing and there doesn't seem to be a perfect answer to that question.
Eventually the desire for cycling and making sure my belly didn't go empty from lack of cash hit a front. To
Ever since, things have happened in a way that only a 15 year old cyclist in small town nowhere could have dreamed up. Every year, I learn more closely that racing a bike isn't always just being 1st (although it sure is nice), it's about getting the chance to do something important to you and having a darn good time along the way.
Fighting for the 1st place can sometimes feel like more stress than your body and mind could ever handle and it's true, sometimes 1st isn't possible. Last Sunday, I was reminded as many times before, why I stay in this amazing sport. It's because it's all a test as to how far you can push yourself. No matter what, you win when pushing your body to its limits. When you do get the chance to win, do not take it for granted, it's not so often you get that chance!
It's also not so often you get the chance to race with a squad like this, and last years, Bob's-bicycles.com crew. It takes years to build a group like this. We're a finely tuned group of racers that sacrifice all sorts of daily desires for the chance to go fast. The next time you cross the last stage's finish line of a National Calendar Race stage race with a bunch of professionals; you'll understand what an opportunity you just had.