Because I promised a second installment of this series, I guess I’ll write down my thoughts on racing before collegiate nationals fades too far into the past.
Last week was difficult for me — not only was I recovering from the physical and mental exhaustion of nationals, but I was also weighing the decision to accept an invitation to the North Star Collegiate All Star Team. Because I finished as the top ranked amateur woman in DI at nationals, I was offered a spot on this team that would fully support me during June’s North Star Grand Prix (previously Nature Valley Grand Prix) in Minnesota. Nature Valley / North Star has been a race I’ve long wanted to attend. It’s a sprinter’s stage race, with technical crits and a killer last stage featuring a very steep hill.
So I was surprised by my lack of enthusiasm when I got the invite. In fact, I woke up every morning last week with a pit in my gut. The first thing that popped into my head as my alarm went off was, “Oh god. I really should accept that invite, but I really don’t want to.” I was just so. damn. tired. And I was tired of putting my research on the backburner. As a PhD student, no one is filling in for you when you’re on the road.
I want to be clear about my desire to concentrate on work this summer — it’s not that I feel compelled out of a sense of guilt to spend long hours in the lab (although there is some of that). But more importantly, I love my work in the lab and I’ve been feeling like there’s something missing in the past few weeks as my project’s been on hold while I traveled to Nationals and then recovered from that weekend while prepping for the Amgen Tour of California.
This past week — in which the Amgen Tour of California launched a women’s circuit and Davis hosted a showing of Half the Road — has been filled with talk of how females balance their racing and their professional careers. I can’t add any more insight to that matter as a whole, but I can write about my own personal experience. If I’d been given the chance to make it as a pro 5 years ago, I would have said yes without hesitation. But now that I’m 27, I feel the need to build a career. This is the time in people’s lives during which they build professional reputations. I’m not ready to throw that out the window for cycling, as tempting as that might be. I feel like I’m standing on a precipice — if I take a leap, I will reach my maximum potential as a cylist. But I’m just not sure that jumping over the edge would help me reach my maximum potential as a human being.