This one is for the sponsors. Not Just the ordinary sponsors. The ones who have your back as an athlete and understand you are a person. The ones like SpiderTech and Champion System that took a look at me when I was at my worst and said “here is a guy we can still help find his best!” Not because it would be a good story, but because they believe in the power of the sport to help build a human back up if he is given the time.
This one’s for the coaches. The grass roots and national teamers. They have all given me the tools I need without being asked. They have worked hard to foster my livelihood and protect my lifestyle from naysayers and forces beyond my control. For guys like Richard Wooles who has continued to build programs and athletes in a country where it is almost always an up hill battle. For guys like Gord Fraser who have continued to work with the next generation of athletes and help us see past the obstacles to find our own greatness. This one’s for Jeremy “Jer Bear” Storie, who spent so much time making sure I had what I needed in the sport, even though I was never his athlete, simply his friend.
This one’s for the hometowns. Those people who will always claim you as their own and rightfully so. Without them I don’t ever get a chance to see the value of sport or the way it can change your life. It’s for the cheers and the rallies and for their ability to always find something magical in what you are doing as an athlete, even if all you yourself see are shortcomings.
This one’s for the boys. That group of Canadian riders I have spent most of my carrier with or around. So many of whom have worn this jersey with pride. They have been great teammates and gracious competitors. They have shown me what is possible as a cyclist from Canada if you just stick together and work hard. To the Will’s, Pinner’s, RAnderson’s, Randell’s, Roth’s, Wohlberg’s, Erker’s, Meier’s, and Tuft’s, all the ex Spider’s, and my trackies. I doubt I would love this sport so much without these people.
This one’s for my family. For a Dad that refuses to let people go by without an understanding of how proud he is. For my wife who has played the roll of a cycling widow far too often and still found the energy to be genuinely excited for every small victory. For my son, who never got to see me race a day in his life but has changed my world forever. This one’s to show that I can get some things right and that in his short time he taught me that seizing the moment is what really counts because some of us only get a few moments.
I am sorry if this seems self-indulgent. I know this win is not the world Championships or Olympic Games. I know it may not even be the biggest or hardest race. But it is the National Championship. It is the one race that inevitably links all of these people in your cycling career together. It is why everyone wants it even if they are beyond the level of the race itself. I am writing this because I feel like my career, especially of late, has been made up of so much more then just the power of my pedals. It is something I need to acknowledge and the Nationals Championships is a common thread that ties all of this together. I know there are groups and people I have missed and for that I am sorry. The list is just to long to fit everyone who has played a role. I think with the year I have had it is important for me to acknowledge what a fantastic community we have in this sport in Canada. Without it, this would never have happened. Not for me, or for many of those that have pulled on the jersey in the past.