Thursday, January 26, 2012

Reality check! (a cool one)

Have you ever wondered what happens when you have to sign up to compete in the Olympics?  I have!  Since I was, like, 8.  So today, I was pretty excited when I saw THIS in my inbox: 

Most of my friends are probably tired of hearing this story, but I'm still excited about it.  So...for those of you interested, a bit of recap:

As some of you may recall, all of that running around last year -- ramping up the training schedule, taking time off from full-time work, traveling to Europe for the first time, competing in the World Cup events, making it back onto the World Championship team -- was in pursuit of a spot on the US Olympic Long team for the 2012 Summer Olymipcs.  Well...on December 1st, 2011, I became 1 of 8 men selected by USA Cycling for the Olympic Long Team!  All that running around (even getting punched in the face in Germany) paid off.

So what does it all mean?  I am in the final pool of riders from which the Olympic Team will be selected on June 25, 2012.  Only 2 men from the Long Team will be able to start at the Olympics this August.  The final selection from 8 to 2 will be based on the top riders in the first four rounds of the World Cup.  There's no guarantee YET that I will make it to the starting line at London 2012, but in the grand scheme of things, I'm darn close!

Thus, my modus operandi of late is to become 1 of those 2 guys.  If I ACTUALLY made it to London, it would be a "Cinderella story outta nowhere"!  Don't get me wrong - for me this is a thrilling pursuit of a lifelong goal that, in the last two years, has continued to progress, step-by-step, and I don't doubt myself.  But considering the competition I'm up against, and all the work ahead, well, as the Carl Spackler once said...gunga galunga.

I'm pulling all the stops this year.  I started training in November.  I'm part-time hourly at Ridgeline Energy starting February 1st, so that I have time to train and travel, but the bills will still get paid.  I'm watching what I eat, getting lots of sleep, and working on my breathing every morning.  I even got a coach! It has been satisfying to have made it to this point on my own program, but now, with a "chance of a lifetime" goal, I need to step up to the same level as the competition and get some help from the pros.  This year I am working with the awesome crew at Herriott Sports Performance in Seattle.  They will help me to be as fast as possible by the time the first World Cup rolls around in March.  And of course, I'm riding Kona Bikes!

Lots of bike riding!!!  When the snow showed up recently in Seattle...

I used some miles to get a ticket to Arizona...

 And trained for 34.5 hours in 8 days...all in the SUN

The pic above is from the last couple days of the trip, riding in Sedona, AZ with fellow Long Teamer and Giant Rabobank racer Adam Craig.  The previous six days were spent in Tucson, the unofficial training camp for several other members of the Olympic Long team, including Todd Wells, Sam Schultz, Chloe Woodruff, and Stephen Ettinger.  Most of those hours were spent aboard my trusty new King Zing

That's Giant rider Carl Decker in the background.  Being the mountain bikers that we are, we couldn't stay on the asphalt the whole time, and one day did an epic ride over the back side of Mt. Lemmon...

And to feel closer to Seattle, we found some snow...

Evidence of some substantial elevation change...

And good food at the end, thanks to the crew at The Cycling House

And lots more open road each day...

After 8 days well-spent in Arizona, the tan lines are back, and I'm looking forward to the start of the race season.

Thanks for reading.  More to come soon!      


  1. That is totally rad, man. Look forward to your journey!

  2. your friends aren't sick of the story yet, dude. it is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

  3. Spencer, I wish a good speed at 2012 Summer Olymipcs! I'll root for you!!!

  4. You're earning the spot. Good for you. A true inspiration.

    Best of luck!


  5. Spencer, I wish you the best and hope you reach your goal. I'm sure rooting for you.

  6. Spencer, congrats! I had no idea about this awesome story...keep on telling it! Good luck! Gala