There are a lot of different paths that lead to coaching, mine was driven by a need bigger than me.
When the 10th grade neighbor kid first approached me to ask me to coach him (and his team at Marin Academy) I was still racing in the pro field, but what he didn't know was that I had just found out that I was pregnant. If I hadn't just embarked on my maternal journey, I would not have had the bandwidth to take it on as I had been balancing 20+ hours a week on the bike and starting a business. It was all about timing. I immediately saw this as an opportunity to pass on the tools of training to this genuinely awesome young athlete, and I figured it would allow me to stay fit as I began to slow down. What I didn't yet realize was that I was about to begin a journey of living vicariously through his success. Every lesson I had learned the hard way was easily passed on and absorbed instantly to result in success. I saw rapid shifts in both his fitness and efficiency on the bike. Everything I said was golden and he absorbed it like a sponge. He went from dreaming of getting on the podium, to dominating the field as the underdog. But what really got me hooked was that my mentor-ship inspired him to be an amazing leader on his team, and many of the lessons that emerged improved everyone's quality of life.
Being on the sidelines as I began to grow a belly, and then the following year with Dustin on my back gave me a purpose that helped me overcome my own struggles. While I had expected to return to the Pro Field as a mother, it was 6 months postpartum when I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. My personal racing dreams were shattered, but there was hope in the future. My analytical and now maternal mind took in everything I witnessed as the NorCal MTB League was growing strong.
I noticed that among the girls racing there were two distinct types: those that were social and rolled in groups, giggling and having a blast, often waiting for each other even while racing but a very different handful of girls were quite competitive and tended to be the one girl on their team training with the boys. As I watched them race, I devised a plan to bring them together. I started the Pretty Fast Girls squad under the Whole Athlete Team and the effect was phenomenal. The girls grew strong and confident together and the ripple of their success resulted in many more girls inspired.
Taking a break from coaching was one of the hardest decisions of my life. I was all in. I had even been so inspired by the bond that we had created that I had humbly returned to racing Cat 1 along side my girls. But the economics of my growing business and family obligations required my focus. The first two girls on the team were graduating, Kate Courtney and I had National Titles to defend but my 4 year old needed me to keep riding bikes fun. I kept my sanity by saying I would be back when he got to High School.
As the years have passed and I watch the ripple, I have continually processed the dream of designing a program that encompassed everything that I have done before while breaking the economic barriers of competitive cycling and gender isolation. This is where we begin with the Trailworks Dirt DEVO.