I don’t know how you knew…but you must have known I needed a little help right about now….so thank you.

Everyone asks, who is your favorite rider? Is it hard to pick one? I mean, there are so many fantastic riders, past and present to choose from, right?

I’ll tell you what though. You need more than to be fast and throw big air to get on my list. Yeah, I’m into the steeze! But, you better provide some inspiration, have incredible tenacity, awe inspiring work ethic AND be a pretty good human to get on my list. In fact, a few of my favorite riders who I find the most inspiring are actually Beginner and Sport level racers who keep racing even though they’ve never won a race!

If you were lucky enough to know Rob, you know he was far from a Sport level rider. I’m pretty sure you also know why he’s someone who is on my list. Rob was soft spoken and kind. He was smooth as silk and crazy fast on a bike. He was fun to watch ride, he was always reassuring at the start gate and often a life saver on the part of the course I was terrified of. He was a mentor and more important, he was a friend.

I don’t know what year it was, even though the night stays crystal clear in my mind. I was at a party for some good friends leaving town and ran into Rob. I hadn’t seen him in a year or so. It was awesome to see him and catch up. As we talked about what we had going on and laughed with my little kid, his friends and other big kids riding bikes in a yard that was probably too small for that. I mentioned that I felt lost around bikes. Like, I had no place anymore. I didn’t race anymore, I was a mom, I had no direction and really just felt out of sync now. He threw his head back and laughed. I want to say loudly. But, he really was never all that loud! He said, “Are you kidding me! You are a pioneer! You will always have a place in this industry. The only reason all these girls here tonight are racing and doing what they’re doing is because of you and all the women like you.”

You are a pioneer. You will always have a place. 

Those words changed everything. They have pulled me out slumps and helped me believe I have the strength! They have given me the courage to continue even when I had self doubt and feel like others are working hard to knock me down and out.

Over the years they have come back to me, repeatedly. Always when I’m at the point of breaking, they come back.

This year I have taken on new challenges. Some that are incredibly intimidating. Some that make me question if I’m a good enough rider or a good enough coach. I’ve felt beaten down and judged this year in ways I was unprepared for.

I’m pretty lucky that I get to see on a fairly regular basis the faces, smiles and riding that shows me I’m in the right place.

But, even with that, sometimes I still feel discouraged, afraid and really wonder if I should just give it all up.

Those words always come back. Lucky for me they have come back repeatedly! Those words and that laugh, seem to come to me when I need it most. “You will always have a place. You are a pioneer.”  I don’t know how you know when it’s time, but you always do. Those words have changed my life countless times….every time I get a chance to roll by this brick, I let you know how much I appreciate those words.

Thank you.