The start of any trip begins with that first step. Eventually with persistance and determination you will find yourself no longer within view from that beginning point but also not within view of your final destination. Yesterday I did something that not only had I dreamt of accomplishing but something that I knew would take a lot of hard work, I put in to upgrade to a Cat4 road. I sent in my request yesterday along with my racing resume and recieved my upgrade conformation a couple of hours later. The idea all started when I was at the team party and a fellow teammate Chris Hudson asked me if I was planning on Cat-ing up this season. I gave him some answer which I am sure he saw right through to my true feeling which was doubt that I could even compete as a Cat4 yet. He was polite and accepted my answer, but what he didn't realize is that he had planted a seed, a seed that grew into questions for me. The next morning I went onto USAcycling's site to check to see if I had completed the manditory 10 road races needed to cat up to a four, I counted 8 road races and 18 Cross races. I thought that posting this to my Facebook status update would satisfy my questions/doubts of cat-ing up, until I get a message a few minutes later from Britton a Cat2 and store owner of Volker Bicycles saying that USAcycling would take into consideration all of my resume not just my road races. I flat out asked him if he thought I should cat-up and he said yes. So here I am again with thoughts of should I or shouldn't I cat up. I knew what I had to do, I texted four more people all on my team, all much faster riders than I am and I asked them their well respected opinion too. All came back saying that I should. So now I have my answer yet I am still hesitant to click on the send button. Why am I so hesitant, what am I afraid of, everyone is telling me to do it but I have some reservations. I remember being 5 years old and living in Puerto Rico. My dad at the time worked for Abbott laboratories. Employment with Abbott included many fringe benefits, one being membership to Dorado Beach country club. It had Chi-Chi Rodriguez's signature golf course, tennis courts, club house, and most importantly a olympic size pool where I would learn to swim.
I only have a few memories of learning to swim and all of them aren't the most positive. The memories are mostly of my trying to stay afloat with the instructor commanding me to swim to her and she promised not to move. If this story sounds familier to you then you will know that she never stood still and she always backed away forcing me to swim further away from the wall and deeper into the pool. I can still remember the panic I would experience when she would back away. With the more lessons I had the less panic I would feel, and eventually I gained confidence, learned to love to it, and even raced on a swim team in middle school. My cycling journey has come to that point where I have to take my hands off that wall and be willing to swim out to the deeper ends of the pool. I can no longer hide in the kiddie pool. I now have to compete with the big kids in the deeper pools.