Reaching Your Potential

By USAC Level 1- ALP Coach Jennifer Sharp

An athlete recently shared with me a triumph in his Training Peaks comments that I would like to share with you (after I got permission, of course).

      “At the start of the ride, I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel. My legs weren’t particularly sore, but they knew I had a pretty hard ride yesterday. Mentally, I decided to just sit in and allow the ride to develop, but once the first hill sprint came . . . my competitive little devil came out, so I launched from the middle of the pack to overtake the two guys out front. Not for any particular reason other than I knew I could, so why not try?
      Ironically, i also decided to just sit-in for this ride. How I end up at the front all the time? I really don’t know. I just end up there.
      We had another set of rolls that we hit hard, and turned into a crosswind. After a couple moments, I looked back and realized that 6 of us had dropped the whole group. I was pretty cooked, so I sat in for a couple minutes before starting to help in the paceline. A group of Cat 2/3 racers had joined our ride, so it was a solid and controlled effort. We had about a 5 minute gap, but had it not been for two stoplights we would have never been caught. 😉
      Anyway, the final hill sprint came. A newer rider I’ve been grooming was taking a pull. We always hit this last section really hard, so I was hoping he’d make the jump because I was tired and it would have been a great excuse to sit up. But alas, it wasn’t to be. We caught him, there was a lead out, so why the heck not? I laid down a pretty hard sprint–I think that’s where the 20 seconds over 1,000 watts occurred.
      After the ride, the Cat 2/3 riders tried to recruit me onto their team . . . again. Initially, last year they wanted me to join them as a lead out guy, but this time they were talking more about providing me the lead-outs. We’ll see! I guess I will start racing crits starting next Tuesday
      . By the time I get to Cat 3, I’ll have a team lined up with a sprint train. 😉
    I know that all sounds like bragging about bullsh*t, but it makes me proud–it shows that the efforts I made over the last few years really have paid off. When I was younger, I was plagued with this concept that I was “average” and “average” meant that I would never be the top of anything, but one day a buddy (former pro mountain biker) that all it takes is time in the saddle. So, I started to ride more. I started to ride in groups. I started doing A-group rides with the goal of getting dropped just a few miles further than the previous week. I knew that some day I’d be a part of the group, but I never really thought I’d be at the front and yet here I am. My biggest hope is that I’m the hand that pushes the next person over the cusp of accepting average to challenging their potential.”
Aiming for a belt buckle at Leadville? Join us in June for our Leadville Trail 100 Pre-Ride weekend. We will dial in race strategy, lines and technical features, pacing, hydration and nutrition, and training. After this weekend, you have 6 weeks until race day.
This is the beauty of our sport – the ability to give back. It’s taking the lessons we learn and sharing them with newcomers. The more we learn and share, the more we grow as a community.
I encourage you to surround yourself with people who encourage you to reach your potential – and someday you might see yourself winning the sprint. And best of all, you may be able to encourage someone else and see them win a sprint.
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