Friday, July 8, 2016

The Struggle :)

I'm not gonna lie, after our race on Saturday in Nove Mesto it was hard to not feel too gutted with disappointment. It's definitely a sign of being competitive and caring a lot, which is probably a good thing, so I don't think there is anything wrong with feeling upset about a bad result. BUT then there is a point when you need to decide what you're going to DO with that disappointment and those poopy feelings. Thankfully, a few days before the race U23 US rider Kate Courtney posted this quote on Instagram:

The important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle, the essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well. -Baron Pierre de Coubertin
And that quote, especially the part about the struggle, was kinda percolating in my mind all weekend.

I have spent a good amount of time reflecting on those three years lately, because quite a few women have contacted me asking for advice on how to go from Expert racer winning every race to successful pro. I think I needed these women more than they needed my advice though, because through the reflection about how I went from full time high school teacher to full time bike racer I kinda had an epiphany last weekend, that shifted the way I view 'failure races' in a big way.

From year 1 at Missoula... no podium!
For the past three years I have been racing domestically in the Pro XCT series. In my first year I was doing it just for fun, because Brendan kinda pushed me to upgrade to Pro and it seemed like a cool thing to do on the side. I wanted to do well, and after a year of mid-pack results I was hooked on coming back the following year to try and improve. The second year I also struggled, improved some, but no podiums and no outstanding races. I was working my ass off training and teaching, but still not performing as well as I wanted to perform. So I decided to do the whole thing AGAIN for a third year.

Then last year, almost to my surprise, I was suddenly on the podium, riding with the lead group, consistently finishing in the top 10, and it felt so good to finally feel like the hard work paid off.

BUT THAT'S JUST THE THING... I didn't land on the podium at Bonelli last year off the couch, I worked my butt off for two full years of unsatisfying results, no payouts and no podiums. I woke up at 4am and rode to school and taught and rode home, did my intervals and went straight to bed. Fortunately I loved every minute of the struggle, but there was a LONG struggle to get to that point.

And that brings me to this year, the first year I have attempted to race world cups in Europe. Three Euro races in, three mid-pack finishes, and I realized that yeah, it is frustrating to get beat by girls I KNOW I can ride with, but this is the beginning of the struggle, just on a different level! This isn't something that's going to happen overnight, I'm not going to be in the top 20 tomorrow, it's going to take persistence and hard work and blood/sweat/tears, and possibly years of racing.

And I'm ready to commit to that! I'm ready to throw in everything I have to doing as many world cup races I can, to see what another year or two will bring!

I'm excited to see where the next two years will take me, I'm excited to continue to share the process with everyone, and I know if I give it everything I have, even if I never make it past 30th place in a world cup, I wont regret anything when I do decide to retire and start a family.

So here's to the struggle. To working hard and not seeing results, to remembering to enjoy the process and to living every day to the fullest :) Cheesy, I know!


  1. Larissa you are an inspiration. Your smile, positive outlook and energy motivate me every day. Keep up the good fight!

  2. Larissa, hearing and seeing the way you keep going, keeps me going too! Keep at it!