When I began my VQ journey in February 2014, my power and weight were in the 180s. I didn't even know how to ride in a pace line. My goal was to become fit and take my cycling beyond 18-mile solo rides up and down Sheridan Road. In one year, I have increased my power to 249, lost over 20 pounds and learned how to ride in a group. Along the way, I have had some major achievements. In September, I rode the Sub-5 Century in 4:28 with a team of 12 riders. In August, I completed Rebecca's Private Idaho, a 94-mile gravel ride with over 5,500 feet of climbing. All this from a non-athletic, couch potato who was pushing an unhealthy 213 pounds in January 2013.
My accomplishments with cycling have taken family support, my heart, my guts and leaving nothing on the table, but I know I couldn't have done much without VQ. VQers work their butts off each and every day and have been a great influence on me, always making me challenge myself and push myself beyond where I ever thought I could go. At VQ, we all celebrate each other's accomplishments. During a recent FTP test, several VQers cheered me on at the end…pushing me to my best FTP result to date. Group riding is an art and takes lots of practice. There are so many nuances that only those with vast experience can point out.
The VQ coaches and ride leaders like RV, Diamond Dave, Coach Hoag, Mike P. and Tim Z. have always been there to mentor me, helping me to become a much better cyclist. Through VQ, I have also learned some very important cycling lessons, applicable to everyday life:
- Success is not achieved overnight, but through hard work, repeated efforts and time, time and more time (in the saddle).
- There are successes and failures. We must learn from the failures, so that each time we can succeed more and fail less.
- It is the suffering and persevering that makes us the strongest.
I have so many goals for my second year with VQ and especially look forward to training super hard for LoToJa, a 206-mile, one-day road ride from Utah to Wyoming. When I cross the finish line in Jackson Hole this coming September, similar to whenever I finish a bi-weekly VQ intensity ride, I know I will feel a great sense of accomplishment, having pushed myself beyond where I ever thought imaginable. I will also know that I couldn't have done it without all of the amazing support I get from my family and VQ each and every day! I love my VQ journey and look forward to and cherish every day I have been on it!