I’ve been dreaming about this post for five months and now that I can unleash its news it’s hard to even narrow down the title let alone the rest of it. Over these months I’ve made a lot of changes in life. At times hard decisions were made that I wouldn’t have even considered months prior. In August after the last road race outside Chicago deep thinking set in about what I wanted for 2014. I started considering giving up the thing that’s meant everything to me for the prior six years, racing my bike. I sought professional help to piece out my thoughts. I even went to a psychic for input. No lie. She made sense and helped me realize in one sentence that I had reached the goals that I had set out for cycling. But her statement indicated that I no longer needed to race and could move on to something new. What? Quit racing?
Going into the fall I hit the reset button, new team (The Fix Studio Elite CX Team), different discipline, and less traveling. It gave me time to adjust back into living a normal life. As a team we set out for Madison’s Trek CXC (late September), however I could only race Saturday. I luck out when I pass through/stay in Madison as my good friend, Sean Peotter, lives there with his wife, Tara, and roommate, JV. That Saturday after a very poor performance on my part I got the night off! This was the first time all year on a race weekend that I got to cut loose. I took advantage of that around a bonfire in Sean’s backyard. Sharing great wine, marshmallows and stories. I couldn’t have been any happier. Little did I know how much that night would impact my next life’s chapter. Sean planted a seed that stuck with me my whole drive home.
This sprouting idea would mean giving up everything I currently knew as normal. I got home to my beautiful 1100 square foot condo with a downtown view ten floors up and asked myself if I really needed it? What did I really want? I wanted to travel. I wanted to enjoy riding my bike. I wanted less gray walls at work and more interaction with people. I wanted worldly experiences.
I sat on this idea for several weeks not really sharing it with anyone…mostly because it’s one of those “Are you crazy?” ideas. Plus I needed to be sure about this before springing it on my mom and coaches. It wasn’t until a long weekend with my girlfriend, Melissa, up on the North Shore sitting in a cabin with no electricity that gave me the extra push sending me off the ledge of my reality.
Upon arriving home I wrote a long email to my family. I’m pretty sure they had no idea how to respond. I don’t blame them. It gave my mom some time to think about it while visiting my brother Kory. Our first conversation (mom and I) happened almost a week after the email went out. She simply asked me if it fit into my five or ten year plan? I laughed and stated how those plans went out the window when I was 28 (the moment I raced the track for the first time). She warmed up to the idea (I think) after some time and talk.
Beyond breaking the news to my mom, breaking it to my coaches was second hardest. Why? Well they put a lot of effort into my training the prior year. I didn’t want to let them down and my potential for the 2014 race year was good if I wanted it. As always they made time to sit down for a talk and as always they were 100% supportive of my choice. Not only supportive but excited. I can’t tell you how damn lucky I am to have them in my life.
That was that…I started to liquidate. The beautiful condo – gone. The Ducati motorcycle – gone. Eight hefty bags of clothing – gone. Bike equipment I didn’t need -gone. To keep this less wordy…I moved four times in two months. I don’t suggest it.
A great quote I recently read in the book, The New American Road Trip Mixtap is “The more you know, the less you need.” by Yvon Chouinard. Stuff is just that, stuff. Experiences and connection to others is what you carry with you always.
Are you on the edge of your chair wondering what I’m exactly up to? After a long road I’m more than ecstatic to announce that I’m one of the newest Guides for Trek Travel!!! I will be based in Europe starting in just a few weeks and will be there until the fall. This coming Friday we receive our schedules so I’ll know specifics at that time, however Spain, France, and Italy are good possibilities (or all the above). The Tour de France is almost a guaranty as there is a large demand for those trips and Trek now owns the Trek Factory Team, which gives us very cool access.
The process for applying to be a guide with Trek Travel has been a long one. Beyond a large bundle of application information you send in November/December, there is an all day interview in Madison in January, and then 10 days of guide training in Solvang, CA in February. If you make it through all that, you get a contract to start living the dream! There is an article written by Inc. talking about the process.
Now this job is no easy task! The application process itself is good insight into what’s to come. The logistics involved in making the magic happen is dumbfounding. I am very excited for the challenge! To have ability to travel months on end to places I’ve never been and meet people who will have an affect on me forever sounds like a perfect transition from…umm anywhere.
Yes, this means my accounting profession will be put on hold. It also means I will not be racing in 2014. At first that was a hard pill to swallow and now I couldn’t be more confident that this is what I want. In the cycling community I know a single rider can make a difference. I apologize to my racing and riding friends for my absence this season.
This post is two part; first because I wanted to share what I’ve been up to and why I am absent this year. Secondly, any time I’ve shared this news to friends and family there is a spark of what they crave in life followed with some hesitation. Not always, but enough that I’ve taken note. Go out and chase life! It may mean you have to give up a few things and be uncomfortable at moments and test your patients, but if it’s truly what you want it can happen. It’s not the lack of resources; it’s the lack of being resourceful. Bottom line, be happy and thank you for reading.
Oh and each year I seem to fall in love with a song, kind of like a theme song. This is 2014: