There hasn’t ever been a moment that I can remember where I was content with the status quo. I like things to be constantly changing and moving, not big moves all at once, but baby steps. Sometimes, I accept the norm and understand things have to be a certain way, at least for that moment in time anyway, but that never ceases my mind from its imagination, mostly for the better, sometimes not – but I really believe in the power of putting your mind in a place where the outcome is positive and you’re happy with the idea and seeing it through all the way to the end, and the feeling that elicits. The idea of continuing to grow my racing program, Aspire Racing, beyond Ellen Noble and I is very exciting for me. Getting older has chilled me down some, but I’m still very ambitious and I love working hard for things that do what I wrote above about change. Doing different things in the sport, telling stories, and creating opportunities inside American cyclocross is still my passion, it’s morphed and the model which I work around has changed over the past 10 years, but the core of what I love about cyclocross is very much alive. Growing a racing team isn’t regular work, especially as a rider / racer myself. Owning a team is constant relationship management and communication with partners, I’m so so lucky and grateful for the incredible partnerships we have at Aspire Racing, but even beyond keeping our partners happy and informed, this is a team, it’s a team of people coming together to help our riders be their best and showcase their talents to the world and not be held back by anything.
Because I am a rider, I know first hand what a professional team environment can do for a rider’s career, when Tim Johnson and Stu Thorne opened that door for me back in 2007 and I switched from racing cyclocross for Jelly Belly to Stu Thorne’s cyclocrossworld team, it was such a significant step up in terms of on-the-ground support and camaraderie, it changed everything for me. I didn’t come out and win every single race I did, that’s not how it works, but Stu’s gamble on me being a personality that fit his program sent my determination to be my best into another stratosphere.
It’s because of those experiences that I feel so passionately about what we’re doing with Aspire Racing, our team includes my good friend and team manager, Molly Hurford, my longtime mechanic, Tom Hopper, our driver and Ellen’s mechanic, Brandon Davis, of course Ellen Noble, myself and….now, Spencer Petrov.
Spencer has been a friend of mine for a long time, I remember meeting Spencer in 2010 at Harbin Park. I’m actually using a picture that I found in my inbox from 2010 to throw this way back, sorry Spence! This was before Behind The Barriers had even started, but the Ohio scene has a passionate cyclocross community and Spencer is without a doubt a show of the hard work they’ve put in over the years. I’m excited to bring Spencer onto Aspire Racing as one of the best young talents from the United States, his work ethic and personality are those of a big rider and I have no doubt he’s going to hone those skills in the coming years as he makes his way through his U23 years. Spencer is moving to our area of western Massachusetts to ride and train with the crew we have up here of JAM Fund graduates, JAM Fund riders, and of course his teammates, Ellen Noble and I. I look forward to sharing this chapter of the constantly challenged status quo with you all and please follow Spencer on his online channels as well.