Professional. A Pro. This is the achievement for which I spent close to 10 years pushing towards until, when I was 27, this dream came true. I was able to step back from working full time and all the stresses of being a privateer, to focus solely on riding my bike. Yet I struggled to make the transition.
Work had provided a balance in my life and the feeling I had earned my way to the races. I didn’t perform well? Bummer, but that was okay- it was my own dollar that had taken me there. I did well? The reward was even better, because I had to overcome so much! When I reached the next level, I was living, literally, my dream, but with it came the fear of loss – loss of lifestyle and the accompanying loss of ideal. If I wasn’t winning, was it justifiable I spent my time only training and racing? I’m grateful for all the support and friendship from my sponsors. I know that they support me for more than race results, but I wanted to feel that I was offering a return worthy of that support.
Last season I was dissatisfied with my performance and uncomfortable with how I was feeling. I was struggling to put together an entire race day that proved my full potential and capability. The achievement I wanted most, at the end of the day, was to feel I was contributing in a positive way to the sport I loved. I wanted to push and progress as a rider yet I craved new experiences and an opportunity to be creative. I was relying solely on race results to determine my worth and that needed to change. And out of these feelings, DVRGNT Minds was created.
My goal for DVRGNT Minds is to create a space to host experience-driven stories to showcase more from within, and for, the evolving cycling community. DVRGNT Minds will launch with the series, “Here, There, Everywhere” hosted by myself and created by Graeme Meiklejohn, but I hope one day to have built a platform to collaborate with other athletes and creatives. This first season kicks off with the only episode of Here, There, Everywhere to cover an EWS and I couldn’t think of a better place to feature than the first round in Scotland… and I couldn’t think of a better person to do it with than the incredible North Shore Freerider, Caleb Holonko. Who had never raced an EWS…
While other racers were walking tracks or resting their legs, Caleb and I worked with Dirt School to host 4 groups of riders aged 10-16. In the morning Dirt School coach Fi and I worked with an all girls group while Caleb and coach Gregor took out a group of boys enthusiastic to learn jumping and scrubbing. In the afternoon, two more groups arrived – many driving from hours away to come ride and learn. EWS had added a kids’ event and it was so fun to see the kids we met earlier in the week tackle a race weekend themselves. Dirt School has an amazing program and to witness one of their coaches, Innes Graham, get on the EWS podium alongside Richie Rude and Jesse Melamed will remain forever a season highlight!.