PORTO VECCHIO, France (VN) — The Tour de France. Yellow. Paris. The Champs Élysées. These are some of my first memories of cycling. When I first picked up a bike seven years ago, I dreamed of making it to the Tour. Of course, at the time, a dream is all it was. There was no tangible way of getting there, no calculated plan that was laid out for me to turn my dream into a reality.
Yet here I am. Through a lot of dedication, perseverance, and perhaps most importantly through the belief and support of those closest to me, one of my most cherished dreams is about to come true.
As I sit here preparing to start my first Tour de France on Saturday, I can’t help but continue to reflect on the path that led me to where I am today. As I progressed through this sport, time and time again I let my emotions get the best of me. I am a very passionate person and I feel that, when I am out there on the bike, it is not just about me, but about all the people who have supported me from the beginning: my family, my fiancé, my team, my friends, the entire cycling community of South Florida. So, when I fail to reach the goals I have set for myself, I often feel as if I have let others down. With time, I’ve come to realize this is not the case.
In this sport, it seems that the majority of the riders judge themselves, and allow themselves to be judged, based simply on their latest result. If they win, they consider themselves successful, and if they lose, they consider themselves failures, and they allow themselves to be viewed as such by the outside world. I think that the greatest champions, while I’m sure they are affected by defeat and victory, learn to find satisfaction in the process. There is a quote from the movie “Peaceful Warrior” that goes, “A warrior does not give up what he loves, he finds the love in what he does.” I find these words particularly meaningful. As I have matured I have come to love the journey, often more than the destination.
When I had success at Paris-Nice earlier this year, I felt no burst of joy or immense self-satisfaction; I simply felt content. Over the winter, I had learned to love the process, the training, the pursuit of perfection. Honestly, I feel that perfection doesn’t exist, at least not as far as cycling is concerned. This entire sport is built on overcoming adversity and even when you win, it doesn’t mean that things have gone perfectly. Still, it is the pursuit of perfection, not actually attaining it, that I have become enamored with. That may sound a little crazy, but then again so is racing our bikes for three weeks around an entire country.
So, now that you hopefully have a little understanding of who I am and what makes me tick, we can go back to the present moment. The training is done. The press conferences are over. The team presentation has come and gone. All that’s left is a single day until the start of what I consider to be the greatest sporting event in the world. I know that many of you may be interested in the details of what life is like during the race, what we eat, the atmosphere in the bus, power numbers and such, and I assure you I will get to all that. More importantly, over the next three weeks, I hope to take you all beyond the mundane.
I want you to get to know me, I want to try and take you all out on the bike with me and give you a glimpse into the moments that will define this race both for myself and for my team. More than anything, I sincerely hope that you come away from the Tour this year feeling like you can once again believe in this sport, that you can watch this great race and enjoy it rather than look at it with a skeptical eye, and I hope that bringing you into my small part of the cycling world will help to accomplish that. Thanks for reading.