Setbacks, Big Dreams, & New Partnerships – 2013 is setting up to be a good year…
If I am honest, 2013 didn’t exactly start out as planned. My new year was greeted with a torn meniscus and ACL and I quickly traded my ski poles for crutches. But injuries can also be opportunities. Down time, whether self imposed or forced through an injury, can provide a chance to reflect and refocus. Facing several months away from my skis and bike I knew there was the potential to auger in on the negative aspects of injury. The alternative was to focus on recovery and what comes next.
So I started to look to what was next. Having to accept that my ski season was over (before it even really started) I turned my sights on my summer love; biking. As I sat back and thought about the 2013 season I began to realize that it was time to explore some new ventures on my bike. I thrive on progression and finding new ways to develop as a rider is what keeps me riding year after year. So I put pen to paper and started mapping out what I wanted out of my 2013 season.
I came to the conclusion that I wanted to focus my energy into three main areas. The first was to be more active in the cycling community through trail building and rider development. We have a great community here in Alaska and the mountain bike scene is growing by leaps and bounds every season. My goal is to get more people out riding their bikes and having fun. Progressive, well built, and well maintained trails are critical to people enjoying their experience on a bike. So look for me on the trail and feel free to grab a shovel and dig with me!
Second, this season, after a 10 year hiatus, I have decided to return to competitive mountain bike racing. When I stopped racing cross country years ago I rekindled why I loved riding. I didn’t feel obligated to rack up hundreds of training kilometers or try to catch every race in a series every weekend. I started to explore other styles of riding from freeride to road and I never really looked back. But you never really lose that competitive spirit do you? That little bit of fire has been smoldering and with the Enduro class race scene exploding, I decided it was time to test my mettle in the competitive world once again. Enduro is a racing style that I identify with. It is reminiscent of the grassroots nature of mountain biking before it became all UCI’d and stuffy. So as I become stronger and healthier later in the season I look forward participating in as many events as possible throughout the northwest.
Finally, something I have long been dreaming of but hesitant to pursue, this season will mark my first foray into big mountain freeriding. I have thought about this style of riding for years and debated how obtainable it is. The terrain is bigger, sketchier, and riskier than anything I have ridden before. The planning is more in depth and everything is more calculated. But it’s where my passion lies. I see big mountains and all I can think about is riding them. So this summer I will begin exploring zones throughout central Alaska looking for the ideal set of conditions to test myself and progress as a rider. The next several months will mark a journey that will encompass my rehab progression, scouting zones and lines, building and crafting trails, and finally testing my skills as a rider and seeing if I have what it takes to make it out in one piece.
So my 2013 has some exciting opportunity in it but I couldn’t do it alone. I am super excited to announce my partnership with The Bicycle Shop, Dimond for this season as a team rider and Freeride Ambassador. I look forward to representing the shop, Jamin, and the rest of the crew and I truly appreciate their support as I launch into this new endeavor. A special thanks to Zuzana Rodgers at Advanced Physical Therapy for her continued support in putting me back together. And of course, to all my friends and family who have helped me through this recovery process and encouraged me along the way.
Stay tuned to see whats next!