I had 4 ½ weeks to prove myself. Which was plenty of time if I was on par. The funny thing is shortly after we started, I scraped the game plan and completely started over.
I had come to this realization that as much as I loved and was passionate about racing, I was more enthralled with the idea of training full time for a living, taxing the body and building into the best that you could physically be. It quickly became a desire to sell my current business, while racing I bought and built an insurance agency that I ran, and find something that would allow me just to train and physically exert myself to fulfill be passion of that fitness environment (despite my lack of athletic talent in any sport to justify this).
I took on the task of training Jake Weimer with the idea that I would conform to the general program already in place by the influence from many past trainers, most of which came to the industry by way of a cycling past. This was my chance to fill my new realized fitness dreams.
It was early on in one of our cycling rides when I asked myself “what are we doing?” I became aware of our still position on the road cycle, hunkered down, back rounded, stationary, as we pedal away, nothing like riding a dirt bike. And then I related our physical racing requirements to my other past athletics. I spent the rest of our 1 ½ hour bike ride coming up with a new training idea based on what I did for conditioning as a wrestler. I mean, like MX/SX, wrestling is a sport that has its intervals of heart rate spiking, you’re constantly moving, there’s no set position. It made a lot more sense to me than long endurance, cardio work.
So with a few weeks out from the U.S. Open of SX I changed the schedule of the conditioning program and started to develop circuits based on movements I used to do in wrestling, more strength oriented, similar to racing requirements and training components that were similar to a book I read entitled “How to be a Motocrosser…” (no, not for dummies). As simple as the title of the book seemed to be it was a book written in the early 70’s based on the training tactics of Ron Tiblan, a former training that used to do training camps with the likes of Roger DeCoster, Brad Lackey, and so on. The sport was much more physical during that decade with less technology and success that was more reliant on your body than your bike.
The weekend came and it was time to see how my training stacked up. It was like finals in college, you did all this work and now it was time to see if it paid off. The challenge was I ultimately had no control during the proving point, it was all based on Jake and his racing results. That was tough for me, I had always been in control of my own destiny and results in the past, now it was all on him.
I was incredibly anxious all day and full of nervous energy. I threw up in the bathroom before the start of the first qualifying heat race. I had never been so reliant on someone else for my success.
Truth is, I didn’t need to do much. Jake was beyond talented and possessed the abilities to be successful. He just needed some structure and some fitness that would instill confidence in him. The challenge was handling myself, it was hard to manage me, with the lack of control. I quickly found I was trying to do everything I could to assist his success. I have no doubt I way over talked his ear off trying to come up with the perfect “Rocky” speech to inspire him. I even found myself sneaking onto the track the first night during the main event (don’t know how I got away with that one). I was standing on the start straight and every time he would come by I would do the same hand signals to him from the practice track to create an environment of familiarity. All in all, it was a weekend of success, Jake would go onto finish 2nd each night and overall, and I would keep my job. We went on to have much more success together and apart. I learned so much about myself, competing as a higher-level athlete, and pro sports in general. It was tough though, I struggled with the lack of control in my own destiny and the competition, not being focused on me. It was an incredibly high stressed environment and not being able to channel that was difficult for me. On the other side it was tough when I gave it up, because I thought this was my opportunity to live my dream of just being able to train and focus on fitness full time.
Little did I know that it would all come full circle and God had other plans for my life. I never imagined that through great adversity and loss, my dream would be fulfilled. I now have the opportunity to train as a full-time athlete (retaining control in my success) as an Adaptive CrossFitter, and all the knowledge I had gained as a trainer for those 4 years with multiple athletes has been so valuable to my athletic success and the relationship I have with my trainer/coach.
Its so funny how you think you go down one path for a certain reason, and later you find out it’s for a whole other opportunity. I would encourage you to remember this when you are doubtful and question the status of your life or career. When you struggle with where you are and what your accomplishing, if the juice is worth the squeeze, because you never know the plans in store and where it may lead you.