Now that I've been home for a while, I'm settled into my routine again and have had some time to process the trip, rehash the experiences over and over with friends and family and just generally reflect. The conclusion that I've come to is that I'm very lucky to have a life situation and support system that allows me to do the things that I do. My training and effort that I personally put into cycling is only a small part of the equation and would almost be for nothing if I didn't have all of these people going out of their way to help me.
Even before I made the trip to Belgium, I had been overwhelmed with the level of support and general good will I had received this season. Then on top of that, the level of support and supporters that came forward to make the Belgian adventure a reality absolutely blew my mind. My usual support crew stepped up as they always do and produced in a big way. I had lots of unexpected contributions, as well as a number of donations from guys that I'm directly competitive with on the road and cross bikes. I'm not sure if the donors want to stay anonymous or not, so I won't name names for the most part, but I just want to thank all of you who contributed in one way or another, with moral support, product, monetarily, or with just a "hey, good luck not getting your ass kicked in Belgium". I really appreciate every bit of support and feel quite lucky to have so many great people and great companies in my life.
I do want to give out a few shout outs though:
My family- They all bend over backwards to make my life and schedule flexible enough that I can be away more than I'm home. And sometimes they're the ones taking on extra responsibilities so that I can go race bikes. Thanks!
Lauren- She has had to make numerous airport runs at 3 AM and then come back and go straight to work on no sleep. Dealt with my bad attitude numerous time after a poor race. And she's been the number one positive influence in my cycling over the last few years and has helped me learn to have confidence and be a more positive person in all facets of my life. Thanks for keeping my head in the right place!
Stu Kaplan- The man behind all my plane tickets. I obviously couldn't do it without his contributions, but now he's as much of a friend as a sponsor. He's taken a genuine interest in my racing and always has some great words of wisdom and support when we see each other.
Toby Cole- My do it all sponsor, life coach, friend. Always makes it happen. Always believes in me and keeps focused on my goals. Thanks for another great year, TC!
Steve Roszko/ BikeReg.com- Unbelievable support. Always coming through and giving me more than the necessary resources to travel the world and race my bike. Treats me like a member of the family
Andy Clarke/ Panther Expedite- The sponsor of my road team and just a huge supporter of the sport. Came through so huge for the Euro trip. Absolutely wouldn't have happened without him.
ZIPP Speed Weaponry- I was one of their first cross riders a few years ago, and you may have noticed that they've signed a few other "decent" guys since then, but they still treat me like they did when I was one of the only guys. I feel so lucky to be involved with the best company in the biz. "BOOM! Hit em with a Freeze Pop!"
Spooky Bikes- Mickey always takes care of business and works hard to keep his riders happy and dialed. Whether it's dealing with my annoying emails and calls or overnighting some derailleur hangers to Portland, he always makes it happen. I've never had as many inquiries about a bike as I've gotten with these Spookys."Pssst... There's that guy with the sick Spookys!"
Sorry if this all sounds a bit sappy, but this season is about so many more people than just me. I owe all of my opportunities to the contributions of these people. Thanks for another great year!