During the day I’m a materials developer at the adidas Headquarters in Portland, Oregon. Away from the desk, I put on my superhero costume, aka cycling kit, and pursue my Olympic dreams. Giving my all towards this dream helped me take on even the biggest of challenges in my career.
On the road to Rio
The superhero costume never really comes off if you are working full time while trying to make the Olympic track cycling pursuit team. I started cycling 3 years ago and since then I’ve been on a fast track (pun intended) towards competing in the Olympics. I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved in just a few years and all while having a full-time career at adidas.
I currently live and train at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado, USA. I arrived here in August this year on special invitation and each day’s training represents one more penny in the bank towards representing my country on the World Cup team which would be a lead-up to making the Olympics in Rio. Sometimes it’s almost unimaginable to me that I have this opportunity!
Balancing my career and my dream
The whole season I focused on getting noticed by the US track coach. It was a hard feat because I hadn’t traveled much. Unlike a lot of top cyclists, I have a career which I love and need. Cycling and work complement each other and make me a whole person. Together they balance me.
It’s also been a huge life challenge – I’ve never pushed my boundaries so far. Balancing my passions for work and training, staying motivated to keep a vigorous training schedule, keeping the goal of getting noticed by the US track coach at the forefront of my mind – I’m not going to lie, this has been hard. It still is hard! Yet it has made a better competitor out of me in the end and here’s why it’s all worth it:
Risk everything for what you love
There’s a quote that inspires and motivates me on a daily basis written above the door at the Olympic Training Center’s Gym: “Risk Everything, Regret Nothing.” I’m trying to live this every day.
There are many reasons why we should give it our all in everything we do. If you are passionate about something, there is nothing more important than pursuing it – despite how difficult it is. Not because of how difficult it is! The difficulties are mere tests to temper you and make you… yes stronger.
I bring this mentality to work, remembering that sometimes we will fail, but failing fast is the key. It may not seem like it at the time, but never forget why you are doing the thing you love in the first place.
You will fall down, but then you will get up again. You will make mistakes or take a wrong turn but then you will readjust.
This type of thinking will unlock so much more of your potential and your willingness to step further out into that area where you really grow. It’s how you find out what you ARE capable of.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your team when you need help
I underperformed at this year’s nationals. It goes on and on. Mentally what I’m doing is a really hard game to play. I can relate to similar challenges at adidas. Sometimes things go wrong. That’s when I need to rally together with my team so that I can figure out a solution.
I don’t always have all the answers and this is precisely when I need to get creative with others.
The solutions can often be kind of crazy and they sometimes really push the boundaries of the organization.The mind likes to set limits. You can always do more than what your mind tells you! And sometimes you need a team to challenge you and point out the unobvious. It’s key to the success of sports teams and project teams alike.
Setbacks are not failures
They give us a chance to learn and grow and become stronger in spite of them.
On the day I was to do a 3k time trial to make the World Cup camp I was involved in a high-speed crash behind the motorcycle on the track. There was nothing I could have done to prevent it. So many times I was told how close I was… how I was almost there.
I am faced with 2 options: sit in my room and be sad and mad. Those are normal feelings. I have felt those. I have cried… a lot. But I choose not to listen to them. I choose the second option – where I get back on the bike and I train like Rio is still there. My confidence is boosted even further because it shows me just how many hurdles I can jump.
This crash showed me anything can happen. Whether it’s on bikes or in your career or in life – you always have 2 options. Bikes don’t end with Rio. Actually bikes don’t begin with Rio either. I love riding my bike. I love training and competing with the team. My dream is to represent my country with them and win.
That’s also what my team and I at adidas want, through good and bad times – to work hard together and win together.
Most of all, I want to know I went all in for my dreams and regret nothing. That’s all we can really ask of ourselves, right?