The Beginning

We have received several times more application forms than the 65 publicly available spots will allow us to accept. However, the Mavic® Trans-Provence 2017 public entrant list is now finalized. (I think a tear fell down my cheek before moving on to the next paragraph)

I’m pleased to confirm that you’re receiving this email, because you have been selected as one of the riders to whom we’re offering an entry for next year’s race.

I think I cried a little bit after I reading that last line.

This is what my tired, crusty eyes awoke to on November 10th, 2016. Umm, is this real? I must be too tired to have read that correctly, right? Let me refresh my email to make sure they didn’t send this to the wrong person real quick…spinning…loading…no new emails saying anything different. My heart started beating out of my chest and that quickly brought me back into reality. I shot a quick text to my oldest brother Eric who enjoys mountain biking more than most people I know, and I imagined him jumping up and down after receiving the news. The opposite happened…he thought I was joking and it took a while for him to believe me. When we met up the next day, we were both having a hard time believing it…TRANS-PROVENCE? ONE OF THE MOST EPIC ENDURO RACES ON THIS ROCK? WHAT?!?

If my research proves correct, I believe there were only three racers from the USA out of the eighty-five total riders in the last Trans-Provence this year (2016). Needless to say, I feel pretty lucky. And a little scared.

Biking has always been a special part of my life. It started at a young age, 2-1/2 years old to be precise, when my family was vacationing up in Michigan and my parents took the training wheels off the little red bike I loved so much and watched me fly. It’s been a part of me ever since. I am also the youngest out of 4 kids, so at a young age I was always trying to keep up with my brothers and sister to keep them impressed (I still do :)). Growing up with brothers who have been pursuing extreme sports has helped me surpass what I once thought were my limits and moved into a realm of constantly changing skill sets, especially in mountain biking.

Ladies and gentleman, by no means am I even close to the status of a professional mountain biker, lets get that straight. But being from the east coast and living 1 hour away from some of the best singletrack in the United States, I have grown to develop a unquenchable thirst for high-speed, gnarly, nasty trails, which I have become decent at riding over the past couple of years. Again, I’m no pro, but I like to think I can hold my own on the rough stuff.

Recently I upgraded from a 2015 Giant Trance SX to a 2016 Giant Reign Advanced 0 (quite the upgrade for me…and maybe a splurge, but oh well). Now, I have watched half-drunk riders on hard-tails blow by me, so gear isn’t what makes a great rider. At the same time, no matter what the endless articles on Pinkbike, Bike Mag, and many other websites say about what the ultimate trail machine is, I believe that the Giant Reign has opened up some doors in my riding that I didn’t think were possible for me. Moving on. The Reign. Love it. Especially in the roughest and most demanding conditions out there. I have learned how to climb with it (ie. getting in shape), and have learned that it does climb decently well once you are actually in shape. Most notably, though, it absolutely scares me on the downs (which I love). Point it straight or pick the smoothest line possible, doesn’t matter. I prefer pointing it most of the time because, as scary as this seems, it feels better and better the faster and rougher it gets. Anyways. I have a bike ready for the task of the Trans-Provence, but I need to train over the next 7 months and make sure I am ready. CAN’T WAIT!

I was able to sit down with the rest of my family and explain this opportunity to them. They stared back with wide eyes and disbelief. I talked about what it meant for the next 7 months…training, money to get over there, diet, reaching out to potential sponsors who might help me along the way…the list went on and on and I could feel myself getting more tense. Suddenly my second oldest brother, Cam, brought me back down from the anxiety-laden cloud nine I was on, saying, “Dude, you have to milk this for all that you can,” with a big smile on his face. I initially took that statement as having a selfish focus. He then went on to explain himself further, describing how big of an opportunity this was and how many doors this could open and how many amazing new people I could meet! Ah! Where was my mind? Obviously not thinking correctly. Duh! I really do need to take every day I have and try and do as much as possible leading up to this, as well as when the time comes to step into the unknown of the blind, French single-track.

To make things even more interesting, I am starting a new job as an Emergency Trauma Nurse this month. Overwhelmed? Yes. Scared? Yes. Excited? Yes. All the above? Yes. Getting an amazing opportunity such as the Trans-Provence is a once in a lifetime ticket to have an amazing journey with an amazing group of men and women and I couldn’t be more excited about it.

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