I feel like someone let me onto a roller coaster that I am not quite tall enough to ride. The ups and downs of this Olympics thing are so strong and fast that I am not always sure what to do.
I didn’t write a report after the first World Cup in Astana because despite several attempts I couldn’t bring myself to explain how thoroughly disappointed I was. I tied for my worst 200m result at 22nd and once again failed to qualify for the 2nd round of the keirin. This marked my 5th World Cup keirin in a row where I got 13th place, so close to the 12 place qualifying mark, yet so very far. I knew that if I didn’t make the 2nd round at the World Cup in Cali or Beijing I would not have the points to qualify for the Games.
I went back to LA and did everything I could do to go fast. It was a very hard month for me. When people say that being an athlete is hard, you might get confused into thinking the training is hard. The training hurts yes, but sometimes that’s the simplest thing. I love the days when I can go out there and just destroy myself. But when you are trying to go as fast as possible, it’s not about who can hurt themselves the most. It’s about executing the efforts perfectly, figuring out the right gears, the right number of efforts, getting proper recovery, dealing with the drama of team dynamics and staying positive, etc, etc, etc. Those elements, combined with the uncertainty, the fear of failure and being away from home, those are the things that weigh down on me when things aren’t going well.
I came into Cali with very low expectations, but when race day came I got into my routine and was just thinking about what I needed to do to execute a good 200m time trial and make the most of this opportunity. I was nervous, the unknown before a race can be very uncomfortable, but I stayed focused.
On the line, moments before my 200 when I was really getting nervous I had a strange thought. Two weeks prior I was in a situation where I had had to confront a staff member about something and I was petrified. I have spent a good deal of my life avoiding conflict and so I don’t have much practice. When I was on the line for my 200 I realized that I was much less nervous than when I had had to confront the staff member. If I could do that then I can do anything. And as silly and as far fetched as it sounds, it really gave me some confidence and I knew that I could execute a good race. Rich told me “You ride this right and you’ll do well here” and that’s exactly what I did. I got a personal best 200m time and went on to finish 6th place in the sprint tournament, my best ever result at a World Cup.
The following day we had the keirins and I was still on a high from the sprints. Everyone was pretty equal in my keirin heat and I knew that I had as good a chance as anyone to win. We made a plan and I felt good about it. When the moment came to execute my plan it didn’t go like I thought it would, I was swarmed over the top and even thought to myself “well I messed this one up” but I stayed in the game and was patient and suddenly I was in the front coming around Fateha from Malaysia and I just piped her at the line. It was amazing. I got goosebumps when I realized I had finally, finally, got a keirin right. I didn’t ride as well in the 2nd round, I missed the move, which put me into the minor final for 7-12 place. This was still another great opportunity for experience and Olympic points. I went in with a plan, stayed patient, and with ½ a lap to go I found myself coming around Lisandra of Cuba and taking the lead for the win. Two keirin wins in one day!
So I find myself on the upswing of this roller coaster and not sure what’s next. But I do know that this coming weekend is a fun international race in Medellin, Colombia, and then I get to go home for 3 weeks to train on my new Wattbike and spend Christmas with my family.
Thanks for following along and for so much continued support.