For years, I've been training by myself in the Berkshires. For all of January, February, and March I was putting in long base miles by myself. No one out here is crazy enough to spend 3-5 hours a day, participating in a summer sport in 25 degree weather. From having our team camp in March, to meeting up at races, to having an online forum for all of the JAM members to meet up and share training tips, setting up travel plans, and breaking down races, it's been a wonderful experience so far. We've only been racing for a bit over a month now and our fitness is starting to get good.
Brad, Dan, Anthony, Al, Mike, Stephen, Jackson, Mukunda, and Ben are some of the coolest guys out there in the racing scene. We all get along really well and have a ton of fun in the parking lots before and after races.
I have been spending a bunch of time out in the Valley and hanging out with the team. We're not only a team, but a family. We have frequent community dinners at Al's house and talk about racing and riding as well as other passions we have. The biggest thing for me is having things outside of bike racing. I strive for balance in all areas of my life and that means getting off the bike on my easy days or rest days and doing other things. Like spending the day rock-climbing with my awesome girlfriend, jumping in the lake when it's way too cold out, or aimlessly riding around on my motorcycle and writing blogs at cafe's deep in rural NY.
Being in a community of like-minded people that are striving for the same goals has been super inspiring and rewarding. Having guys like Al Donahue, Jeremy Powers, Mukunda Feldman, and Mike Busa as the leadership on the team has been great. They're all super busy, but always willing to listen to whatever it is that's on our minds. I had some fit issues after the Ninigrit criterium and Mike and Al dropped what they were doing and helped me tweak my bike. When it comes to analyzing how we're racing they're great as well. They have been doing this bike racing thing for a long time and know how a race will play out and how to make decisions during a race. This is all stuff I'm still learning, but we have some of the best leadership and mentors out there. I feel like in only a couple short months of racing I have learned more than the 2 years I've been training and racing.
On a side note, this is basically my last week as an undergraduate student! I just finished up writing a few 5 page finals and I had my thesis/degree project bound and it's ready to be handed in, 60 pages later!!!!!!
I will be graduating on May 18th, then going straight into grad school 2 weeks later!!! Craziness.