Dealing with personal issues in autumn of 2010, I began to drink alcohol for the first time in my life, and I began to drink very, very, very heavily every night at home – if you think of a downward spiral, my addiction was this.
I never judge anyone. In the deepest, darkest tunnel of addiction, you tell yourself to get busy living, or to get busy dying, but yet you just cannot stop.
In short time, I realized I had zero control. In summer 2012, dealing with my mother’s lung cancer battle, I began to drink even more. 12-14+ drinks a day, nearly every day, just chained to the house and working | riding | drinking.
If you are an alcoholic, you do not beat alcoholism. The singular solution is to not drink, and on July 2nd, 2014, I admitted to myself that I was a full-blown addict and needed help. I needed to stop this insanity, and I was able to stop cold turkey and have been able, every day, to stay sober – you work to make it happen every day.
In the aftermath, I questioned if I was 100% the best coach possible. Some athletes I coach have been 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd at Nationals, at their biggest events. Waking up last summer, I realized I needed to do more. In order to elevate and take this leap upwards, we needed a race compound to congregate – strength breeds strength, confidence breeds confidence, positivity breeds positivity – two can do more than one, and three can do more than two.
The idea of providing genuine race support became a vision — not just for champions, but for everyone.
In order to become a successful coach, you must cultivate meaningful relationships with athletes. You are faster with me than without me, and I am better because of you. I am professionally dedicated to constantly improving, and great coaches bring out what athletes alone cannot bring out of themselves.
The race compound, to me, is necessary to achieve the dream, to perhaps help achieve that next step.
In my racing career, I gravitated towards solo races like TTs and MTB races. I was not naturally good at them at first. Going fast in a time trial is never easy; the process of improvement, the reward, you just have to have no fear, you must go in and not care what happens, this is all it takes.
I tell you this is all it takes.
I sit here right now confidently telling you at a TT where I felt 100% prepared, I felt I could beat any rider who showed up. I looked forward to showing you how fast I was going to go, to unload all of the preparation into one perfect race effort. I earned the right to feel that way and I yearn to help give that feeling to everyone.
Time trials are 100% a test of your will to push through your pain barrier, to find something new. Few events are as mentally arresting as this race of truth. When you are in the tunnel of time trial performance, you eternally pause the most intolerable of moments – the pain can be your enemy, or it can be your friend, and you see firsthand just how much the bicycle demands of your will. If the race experience and post-race photos posted everywhere are about what is visible — fast riders, high-tech gear, blazing speeds, podiums — the craft is forever based on what is not, and the effort is what I want to help athletes 100% nail on race day.
Yesterday at the Silver Mine TT, one of my favorite events on planet earth, we had a trial run, and this fall we will continue with TEAM Elite Endurance at cyclocross events. The initial experience went from an empty parking lot at 6am to two tents full of friends, athletes, peers, family. Many athletes had top results, podiums, PRs, but in my head I saw success, support, energy, perseverance, reward, accomplishment.
I see very clearly my time is better spent as coach, not athlete. The coaching company is called Elite Endurance, this name did not happen by accident. We build elite endurance, we do it, we do it every day. You practice, you continue to practice, you live in denial and accept just one thing – your very best.
When you realize you can achieve your personal best, you develop the essential attribute: courage. You do what you think you cannot do, and this potential grows like wildfire in your mind — you continue to build towards new challenges you never thought possible.
I want to thank Sean Pasieka and Amanda Rinderer, Sue Seyboldt, Toby Hanna, Jesse O’Donnell, Glenn Hartrick, Jim Vreeland, Brian Norling,Patrick Walter, Mark Curran, Paul MacDonald, Dana Fallon, Peter Cotsis,Chris Fritz, Chris Dawson, Bill Sasiela, and Tatsuo Imaishi yesterday for helping me continue to push for what I clearly see is possible.
If you do something, then do it — there is zero in-between.
Life is what you make of it, and life is good, man.