As many of you have likely already seen (I've heard from a few), Kristal graces Blue's ad on pg 12 of the latest issue of Cyclocross magazine. We knew this was coming, and it brings up a host of thoughts and memories.
First and foremost, it serves as a reminder of the lesson learned that year. The picture in the ad above was taken during Kristal's race at Nats in Madison, January, 2013. That day the course was littered with frozen ruts, liberally coated with greasy mud. Kristal had a horrible race. She crashed multiple times and it completely got into her head, resulting in one of her worst overall finishes at Nationals. She was crushed afterwards. She couldn't believe she had let course conditions beat her. Take it from me--it made for a long drive home. We had long discussions about making sure that race burned in her guts and served as motivation for her ultimate goal 2 weeks later at Master's Worlds in Louisville, KY.
Race morning in Louisville dawned cold and frozen. During preride, the few places with water on the course were splashing up and freezing on our brake tracks (cantis, of course). Kristal, however, was attacking the course, making it hard on me trying to keep up on our preview laps. Afterward, I spent the time while she was on the trainer sitting by a heater in the ProBike Express tent, chipping ice off the wheels with our windshield scraper, worrying about the conditions.
As you probably know, Kristal blew off the line at the start, only briefly relinquishing the lead early on the first lap before riding away from the field for the win. On her last pass of the pits, I saw a huge grin on her face. She had used the negative experience at Nats to harden her and drive her to victory on the day.
I think this is an important lesson; we learn way more from negative experiences than positive ones. Make sure to use them--immerse yourself in them, study them, sink into the frustration--then squeeze as many drops of motivation from them as you possibly can. They will fire you up.
Another overall more pleasant thought that comes up with this ad, though, is a deep appreciation for our long association with Blue bikes. Kristal's first big win, the B race in Kansas City year 1, was on a Blue CXC. We've always felt at home on their bikes, and Orlando Chinea, the National Sales Manager for Blue, has been one of our most ardent supporters. In fact, he was the driving force in our creation of RapidRacing. He kept pushing us "Look, just create your own team, I'll sponsor you" (make sure to read that in a Spanish accent), and finally we took the leap.
Other than a brief period with another brand, we've been on Blue bikes ever since, and our whole family races on them. We are huge fans of the brand and people associated with it. They have huge hearts and care deeply about the experience of their customers. We are truly proud to be associated with them.
In closing, we'd like to apologize for the quiet period--Kristal had taken a step back the past few weeks after some fatigue, but now we're back in action and ready to finish the season strong! So even the headline on Blue's ad seems prophetic...
Thanks for reading.