The 2017 season was a year of work, belief, breakthroughs, adversity, perseverance, and adventure.
Thanks to a great team of supporters, I had the best results I ever have - placing in the top 25 at World Cups and perfectly timing a peak to place a personal best 16th at Elite World Championships. These results came from hard work, both mental and physical. They also came from a headspace of puposeful optimism - an attitude I've learned to adopt over the last few years. While there were many challenges, I was surrounded by a group of people who helped me see the potential in every situation.
Credit: Andy Vathis
Worlds came and went, and with it, the end of our "serious" competitive season. Way back in February, Lespy and I had decided we wanted to find a challenge for the end of the season. After some digging, we decided the Crocodile Trophy - only one week after World Champs and starting in the same city - would be perfect. We wanted to stretch our comfort zones and experience a new corner of the sport we love. At over 660km, 13,000 metres of climbing, and with 8 stages through the Australian wilderness, the Croc fit the bill perfectly.
First, I was amazed at how the mountain bike community can be so completely global, yet be so tight knit. Stage racing proved to be a perfect opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. This was probably my favourite part of the entire race - forging new relationships, sharing war stories, and learning about mountain biking in other parts of the world.
Throughout the 8 days, I learned that you can always endure more than you think. It quickly became apparent that with belief and positivity, any challenge can be overcome - whether you're a professional or have been mountain biking for 6 months. On a related note, the Croc proved that you don't have to be an expert or a professional to attempt something like this - you will learn along the way and grow in the process.
There were a couple of days - specifically the day I raced while sick - where I thought there was a genuine possibliity that I might not finish. On these days, I realized how much easier accomplishing things is with moral support - if you let yourself be inspired by others, you gain so much energy and strength.
Lastly, it really hit home that if you don't set crazy goals, you'll never do anything crazy. I'm so glad we chose to do this race - it challenged me, made me feel alive, and showed me a whole new corner of the world. Croc was hard, but I will forever cherish the memories it left me with.
It's been a long season, but it doesn't feel that way. The year was filled with so many positives that it's hard to take a step back for the offseason. This success was becuase of many people:
To everyone, thank you for a great season! I already can't wait to get started on the next one.