The picture above was on one of those days. Slugging through training…actually, I don’t even think I slugged through this day. I pedaled maybe 100 meters and stopped. Another 100m and stopped. I’d never been so tired, or so SLOW, or so demoralized. Little did I know, just a few short weeks later, I’d be flying faster than I’d ever gone. This was the spring of 2015. I’d just won my first world cup medal, and competed at the elite world championships.
The number of times Andy heard me say that when I was slugging my way through training sessions, slow as a snail! I didn’t have the patience, or the understanding to really know what training was REALLY like, or how training should REALLY feel. Week after week we all get on our bikes, striving to make the smallest improvements, so the next time we get out there, we do better, ride faster, and win more…right? Well in short, that’s the point. But at BPC, we do things a little different.
Throughout the early years of my career (and while I realize my “career” was only 3.5 years long, bear with me here…), I trained with short sight. I trained from race to race, maxing myself out before I even reached my potential. I slowly climbed the ladder within the US, then in the world. But the gains I was making were so minimal. At the rate I was going, having a highly competitive flying 200m time was going to take well into my 40s. I was at my wits end…then I figured I’d try something new (this is where BPC comes in).
I struggled. Like many of you are right now. I didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. You’re eyeballs deep in training, wondering why everyone else is dropping you, out sprinting you, and riding circles around you. Well, my fellow athletes, I’m here to tell you this: There is a light, and it’s what I call, “THE DAY”.
Ever gone from riding a 12.2 to an 11.4 in under 36 hours? I did. Anyone who’s truly been through the training program will be able to tell you – you’re doing everything you’re doing for a reason. That’s the point of our programs – everything has a reason. In the early time of the year, you’re training hard towards your goal, whether it’s the state title, national title, or world title. While your competitors are still going from weekend to weekend, trying to squeeze the smallest ounce from their minimal training, you’re in a swing, building momentum, strength, power, endurance, and speed. You’re racing for tactics, experience, and developing the hunger for more.
But it is a struggle. When you are used to finishing in the mid pack, qualifying in the top bunch, or hanging with the group….to remain mentally tough can become a challenging task. Believe in yourself, believe in your program, and believe in your goals. Put your blinders on, focus on the task at hand, and go into each day with a clear vision, a hunger, and relentless determination. Each day you’re building yourself stronger, faster, and better… so when “THE DAY” arrives, you haven’t wasted it on early spring races, which seemingly mean nothing compared to your big goals.
I speak from experience, as someone who has been through the training, through the emotions, and through “THE DAY”. I have talked many of you “away from the cliff”, because I have been there, I have doubted, but I stayed true, and I became an athlete I never knew I was capable of becoming. We break through the impossible, reach new heights, and become athletes who are strong, courageous, and mentally unbreakable.
We train for what really matters – it’s the BPC slogan for a reason (see – I told you everything has a reason!). We admit – our training philosophy isn’t for everyone. We demand only those capable of the strongest of mental challenges, the most obsessive in their training logs, and the most determined to reach their goals. Many quit before they reach “THE DAY”, simply due to lack of strength. But for those of you who stay the course, remain strong, balanced, and committed, “THE DAY” will become a day you will always remember – when everything comes together, your hard work shines through as championships, PRs, and incredible memories.
In that picture, I was broken. I just wanted to go fast. I was tired, so tired. But on days like that, you get back on your bike, you put in the work, and put money in the bank. I wanted to go to the Olympics, and I knew this program was going to get me there. It was the spring time, I had 7 months until the first world cup of the season. This was the time to put in the work.
When you catch yourself in the slumps saying, “I just wanna go fast!”, remember your goals, remember the work, remember the time of year…and say, “I’m doing this today, because I’m gonna go fast on THE DAY”. And on “THE DAY”, you’re going to be glad you waited. Believe me.
-Coach Missy Erickson