I love March and April for two reasons: 1.) It’s the start of the cycling season and 2.) March Madness. I always look forward to filling out my bracket, but I always chuckle to myself because no matter what I always put DUKE as the National Champion, no matter what they are seeded or how their season has gone up to that point. Tournament time to me is the start of the “real season”, where everyone’s record is wiped clean. Anything can happen from this point on…March Madness showcases what each team is really made of at the core. It’s more than just playing ball and throwing on the uniform. It requires going deeper and being more hungry than ever before. It’s all about heart, hustle, passion and all those other warm, fuzzy-feeling words that get you all fired up and before you know it you are throwing fist pumps at the TV, all while wondering if anyone is watching you. For me, it’s never tough to fill out the center line on the bracket because I always take the chance with Duke and put them confidently as my national champion. Yes, of course I’m a die-hard Coach K. fan because I know Coach has set a standard for his program that is unmatched. He is the true definition of a leader. When I feel like things are becoming unbalanced in my approach to sport and life, I often re-read his book, Beyond Basketball because it helps bring me back to center. I find it rejuvenating and helpful to revisit the basic principles Coach K talks about. Each time I read it I take something new away that really resonates with me in that moment. This book is absolutely a great read for everyone! Whether you like basketball or not, the power of words used by Coach will certainly resonate with your own life experiences.
Over the past few days I’ve been reading through some chapters and the main word that stands out the most is: Selflessness. In professional bike racing the act of selflessness is a must in order to be a true teammate and a successful team. To be a winning team/program it takes everyone involved to be committed to this and in doing so teams always reap the benefits in the long run. It’s such a great feeling to know that my teammates will toe the line and will ride their bikes with a selflessness mentality because we have all committed to “holding the rope” (I’ll save that analogy for another day) this season. As a collective unit we have signed on to do a job and will hold each other accountable to do that job with integrity, passion, and 100% confidence in each other. It’s an amazing feeling and an honor to be apart of that type of program, both on and off the road…it makes the act of selflessness an easy one which ultimately leads to what Coach K refers to as “The Fist”.
“Selflessness means that you will do what is best for the team. Jimmy Valvano once told me, “A person does not become whole until he or she becomes a part of something bigger than himself or herself.” It is the best and most simple description of being a member of a team and its rewards that I have ever heard. Being a part of something bigger than yourself requires selflessness and an understanding that there will be personal sacrifice for the good of the team. And most people desire to be a part of something bigger and to feel as if their actions are for the greater good.”
“The Fist” is a powerful collection when collectively orchestrated. Five fingers held together in a tight formation, a fist, is far more effective and powerful than five fingers held outstretched and working independent of one another. There’s no collaboration or unity.
I’m excited to continue to work with my team and build upon the selfless foundation we’ve worked to establish. It’s also exciting to see that this concept actually works, as evidenced through Duke winning the National Championship last night. That was not an accident or a fluke. It was a result. Winning is always a result. I’m pumped and can’t wait for the next race.
It’s All About That Bass
“It’s all about that bass”, the catch phrase and song by Meghan Trainor, were stuck in my head as I cruised home from a training ride on route 29 this past weekend. These words just stuck in my mind and played over and over…and with a little play on words…It’s all about that bass…or “base”, made me think, I gotta write my first rider diary about these lyrics! Over the past few weeks, I’ve become increasingly more excited about my new role(s) as Director Sportif and rider for Team Colavita|Bianchi. Initially I was nearly scared to death wondering if I could pull off both directing a team and racing all at the same time. But as the weeks have gone by and our first team camp is in the rear view mirror, I’m discovering much of the complexities were self-imagined. Don’t get me wrong it’s a lot of work that requires a lot of structure in my day to make it all happen, but it rarely seems like work….cause it’s just way too fun! Back to the lyrics…or my version of the lyrics. I’ve been privileged to be in the Pro Women’s Peloton for many years now, and I’ve been able to ride for several different directors, both domestically and internationally. Prior to racing, I’ve been on sports teams of some sort well before I could walk and chew gum at the same time (I learned that in 6thgrade). This collection of directors and coaches has been a great source of learning for me which has now provided a wealth of knowledge to draw upon on how I want to run a team. What I lack in experience as a director, I feel I’ve been able to take good notes over the years and lay a solid base on which to build my own team and create my own experiences. This solid base is not just in regards to directing. As a rider, it’s also becoming more evident over the years of how important a solid base really is to a successful season! I feel being both a director and a rider….and having a solid base in both of these areas will allow me to relate to my rider’s needs on a completely different level. In my opinion, it makes my job (both of them actually) a lot easier this way. As with anything in life I will always strive be a “student of the game” so in this particular new role I am ready to learn, make mistakes and work to be better. I know I won’t always get it right but so far things are off to a great start and I’m ready to make it “all about that base” or in cycling terms “expand my ceiling”. I am so thrilled to be in my new role and welcome it with open arms. I can’t wait to work with all my riders and help each one strive to be their best…not just on the bike but great people off the bike as well. This is just the beginning and I can’t wait to kick-off the 2015 season with Colavita|Bianchi p/b Fine Cooking.