Anything Is Possible!
Some people are jumpers. I’m definitely a wader. My whole life, I’ve never been one to jump into anything. I’ll test the water first; scope out the destination. I’ll gradually wade out. Sometimes, if it feels right and I’ve considered other options, then I’ll jump. And the thrill, the adrenaline rush, the ‘high’ of achieving my goal will make me think…hmmm, maybe I can go just a little bit deeper.
Throughout the past few years of racing bikes, I’ve done the races I can, gradually picking ones that are more and more competitive. Each year I’ve swum out a little deeper; trained a little harder (and smarter!), taken a few more risks, made a few more sacrifices. And, happily, each year I’ve gotten faster…and I’ve waded myself out into the deep pool of International competition; regularly racing World Cups, Pan American, and even World, Championships. It was just a few years ago that I scoffed at the idea of ever even qualifying to compete at this level. Yet, here I am.
While I can’t say that I’ve let go of the proverbial rope swing and flung myself willy-nilly into the depths of being a bike racer-no, in more typical Erin style, I’ve gradually left the safety of the shore and have swum deep enough that my feet can’t touch. I constantly strive to reach the perfect balance between working nearly full time as an Engineering Project Manager and competing as an Elite XC racer. This balance has proved difficult but has also provided a new set of challenges I can push myself to overcome and ultimately grow from.
For 2018, I have signed with the Construction Zone Racing team, based in Arizona. I am fortunate to have several personal sponsors that have pulled together support to offer me, enabling me to pursue my goals at the highest international level of racing. These major supporters include Scott Bikes, Stan’s No Tubes, Lizard Skins, Gu, VC Graphix, Shimano, Stages, WD40 and Maxxis. There are several reasons why I am grateful for this opportunity. Not only do I have the chance to continue racing at this level, but I am presented with the ability to grow my personal relationships within the industry. I believe this is an integral part in my success as well as my longevity within the sport. I am thrilled to be in this position- to be committed, to believe in myself enough to give this bike racing thing a real chance.
The questions still remain-can I swim? How far can I swim? Are there sharks? But at the end of the day it doesn’t matter. Taking the risk to devote yourself to something that scares you and challenges you, that’s what it’s about. Because when I decide it’s time to get out of the water, I know I will emerge as a shimmery mermaid…no wait, that’s a dream…I will emerge as a stronger, more confident, more complete person, grateful for my experiences and those around me who patiently love me and are hopefully waiting with a warm towel.
Sink or swim. I’ve committed myself to becoming the best mountain bike athlete I can become and I’m determined to swim.