This blog today is 2 things - it is very hard for me to write but also the best for me to write and share. There are people that change your life - if you are lucky enough to see far ahead, not be selfish, focus on what you are good at and supposed to do, and just do it. Nate Wilson has been one of those people - in my life. I am ridiculous coz when I think of him leaving I cannot stop crying. SORRY Nate. I am not trying to embarrass you. I started coaching in 2003, it was the fall my mom passed away from cancer. My mom was my biggest fan in my cycling. My Dad never seemed to understand cycling = me. He does now. I admit I was fairly neurotic back then with my sport - some of which I am not proud of. My mom came to my races - I thought she would be here forever. But one day she fell - and after going to the hospital she had cancer pretty much all over her body. I was out on my bike when I talked to my Dad about it - my life changed that day. She didn't live much past being diagnosed with cancer. That fall I realized life doesn't last forever. I grew up, fast. I had been racing my bike and waiting tables. Pierre used to tease me about having 2 graduate degress and tossing shrimp for a living. I loved the bike.
So 2003 I sent resumes everywhere and actually got hired on the spot. I worked 3 days as a personal trainer and realized this was NOT me. Then started in with a company coz they had a VO2 analyzer - and having a M.S. in physiology and loving the "science" of training - this was a good start. But after bout 1 month I again needed more - and so in 4 mos I started my own biz. I spent every penny I had on a VO2 machine. Bike racing does not teach you how to "coach", any better than books. I think really athletes and working with athletes teach you the most about being a coach. Their needs harnessed with their dreams coupled with the coaches science of training and performance. I know racing as a cat 1 seems to have given me more than what the books did - but truth is, it is the books and real life experience combined, that enable me to make it as a coach. So I started as a coach - but I still had so much to learn. I may go back to school once more (and it will be in CO or the west damnit!) for sports pysch. There is ALOT to being a coach. The training part is easy - with power and HR and RPE - that part is the easy part. But getting an athlete stimulated for a great ride - is what matters. Despite a bad week of training or coming back from an injury or stress on the homefront. When you line up with a number on, it is Game on.
So - back to Nate. I started coaching Nate many yrs ago. I can think of so many rides we did together - the 100's of repeats I made him do on Hunter Station (and yes he hated them). I had only been coaching a short period of time when I started working with Nate. And what made it so real - was his desire to exceed. Despite ALL odds. Despite he was on the small side. Despite he had been dropped in many races. He was smart and analytical. He was very caring towards his fellow man. He read alot about training - and all along our relationship - he always questioned me and asked me intelligent questions. The friendship and the trust just happened. That now is very special to me. I had dinner with the Wilson's last nite - kinda our goodbye dinner as Nate takes off tomorrow - and I told him the truth - which is that he gave me as much in developing as a coach, as I gave to him in his cycling career. This is rare. I have some other athletes that have this energy as well - that they give to me. It allows me to grow as a coach and person. It is kinda funny to me that I was always kinda shy in school - and now I coach. It is alot of 1:1 and I thrive on this. So the development came from both sides - the room to grow and adapt and advance.
Tonite I am testing Nate - he has been on spectacular form. I wanted him to be peaking in July - kinda from Fitchburg > Nats. He did have a hard day in the Crit Nationals - but other than this one day - he has been "on" for about 2 mos. This is kinda unheard of - a long peak. Him getting the win at Millersburg was perfect. I knew he was going to win and soon. He was hating 2nd place. And you have to hate it enough, to win. Congratulations Nate. I can tell you I have been honored to work with you the past 5 yrs - the memories are something I shall cherish forever. I will make sure I make all the future jrs do as many if not more repeats on that damn hill Hunter Station. I know you are going to make it - and as your parents also feel, noone could be prouder of you than me, them. It is about being a winner OFF the bike as well as on. That makes a great champion. I have so many pics I coulda put up - they are from Jim Wilson and Linc Brookes. I love the one of Nate sprinting. I rode with Nate on Tuesday for an easy spin and riding beside him - to have a memory of him from yrs ago to the Nate of him riding beside me that day - I was in awe of what he has developed into. Not coz I was his coach - but that he never gave up. Not ever. I knew he never would - but to actually see it all come true is ... what to say. I don't know.