The internet has gone totally bonkers over this news. Reactions have ranged from the dismissive and pessimistic to the vitriolic and asinine Personally, I've had trouble refraining from being more vocal over social media. This is something that affected me deeply and profoundly. A large hunk of who I am, and how I think about myself is tied up in my job as a cyclist -- and the prospect of suddenly not being a racer any more is painful. I'd grown rather fond of what my next year was shaping up to be. Getting the rug pulled out from under me like this feels a bit like getting dumped by a girlfriend. It stings. I've said things over Facebook and Twitter that I probably shouldn't have -- comments that, while they've all been centered around me and my personal situation, aren't really the message I want to broadcast.
So what do I want to broadcast? It's simply this: I am SO grateful for the chance to race my bike these last two years -- and most of that gratitude is directed towards James Carkulis and the Exergy Development Group. Anyone who knows me from my Hagens Berman days remembers how close I was to not becoming a pro racer. At the end of 2010 I'd been "chasing the dream" for five years. I was satisfied with my career as an amateur, but (provided I didn't get a shot at the next level of racing) was ready to move on to other things. I'd reached the conclusion that I was good enough to be a pro, but that much more goes into getting a pro contract than simply having the legs to do the job. Luck, timing, and connections were all part of the equation, and I didn't feel like I failed as a racer just because those other factors weren't on my side. Then, in October, I was offered a spot on Exergy. I felt like I'd won the lottery! It was only because of the management team of Escalera racing, and the insane generosity of our sponsor that I was offered the chance to keep racing. Like I told Cyclingnews, I feel like I was able to hit the snooze button, fall back asleep, and continue dreaming this ridiculously fabulous dream where I get paid to race bicycles.
You can say many things about James Carkulis, and Exergy Development Group. Yes, he has outstanding bills. Yes, he had to make the difficult decision to withdraw sponsorship of my team. But to imply that he harmed us or betrayed us is just stupid. He enabled us, and the sport of cycling, to a fantastic degree.
James, it's been a wild ride.
Nothing lasts forever, but this was gooooood while it lasted.
Thank you so much.