Reading over Julian Kyer’s journal article on velonews I couldn’t help but empathize. Kyer’s words aren’t overly poetic but the feeling it gets across  is big. Its a feeling Ive had a lot this winter. In August I moved to Cumberland Gap TN to be with Emily where she is finishing up the classroom part of her PA program. I left behind 25 years of relationships, training partners, known routes, and still had a lot of exploring to do.  I don’t regret the move one bit but I often miss the training program I had at my disposal. Fortunately being with Emily every day is a blessing that both recharges and enthuses me; connecting me readily to my purpose right now. Bike racing 2nd, family 1st, that’s the way it should always be, even when racing becomes a livelihood. Moving to the Cumberland Gap has provided some incredible scenery, amazing opportunity to get out and do big mtn days on the on the bike. Ridge riding, gravel and road riding, and incredible views are all aplenty in The ‘Brap. Its a cool place to live and train and I hope I am squeezing every last ounce of radness out of it for the next couple months until we leave to start the next phase of life.

It is so easy to go into winter planning huge rides, big miles, and long days only to then come face to face with the adversities of winter and be frustrated that those long rides and big days aren’t happening like you saw them in November. It happens to nearly everybody, no matter how many miles, or how many hours. I’ve been able to stick pretty well to my schedule on the bike with additional time off the bike doing strength work and generally “twerking” and flailing trying to put together a strong rider come spring but the self I saw in the fall is almost certainly doing more. In Julian’s words we “design an alternate fictitious self.” “I know how many hours this version of me will have trained by camp, how much he weighs, how much power he produces, but nature never receives this blueprint and wouldn’t care if she had.”

This has been tough for me to reckon with over the fall and winter months. Ive been doing almost exclusively solo riding and training, pushing it hard and carrying out specific workouts to try and build a rider with a little more snap in 2015. But the other me is still miles and hours ahead. Im having to remind myself that I carried a ton of fitness late into the fall of 2014, had a good offseason, and have been able to do a good solid build working into my 2015 season. Im riding both uphill and down better than I have in any January past and am feeling my bike better than ever, pushing it and myself to go faster. I trust that because its hard, things are going well. In the words of Julian’s mentor, and in words Ive heard before and hope will remind me again next January: “Trust the struggle.”