I suppose it’s only appropriate that a saga which began with a sleepless night ended with a sleepless night. I woke up at 2:45am to a voicemail informing me that the CAS panel settled on a 6-month sanction starting September 10th, 2015, the date I accepted the provisional suspension. It means that I miss the upcoming World Championships and ultimately the entire winter season. As hard as it is to sit on the sidelines while my peers are competing, I recognize that a rule was broken and a price must be paid. I maintain full responsibility for my actions and I accept the punishment as handed down by the CAS. Looking ahead, I am thankful that the big goal of qualifying for my third U.S. Olympic Team and competing for a medal at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games is still very much in play.
The last few months have provided ample time for introspection. I’ve had a lot of time to think about what is important in life and where cycling, and more specifically bike racing, fits into the bigger picture. What has been most helpful was the incredible support from friends, family, and acquaintances I’ve made along the way. The emails, text messages, phone calls and social media messages flowed in and really showed me what’s important. And it’s not standing on the podium of bike races. It’s the journey. It’s the adventures. It’s the lifelong relationships made along the way. I’ve been very fortunate to have made some great friends and met some great people over my years in the sport and that’s something that will I carry with me for the rest of my life. I think only through the events of the last several months could I have learned that lesson so clearly.
So now I head into the final chapters of my career armed with this fantastic new perspective on life and sport. I have a new understanding of the true value of sport, the gift of sport as well as the limits of sport. There is so much life to live outside of sport and by the same token there is so much richness added to life by sport. I feel like I’m in a unique position now to really enjoy the process and fully appreciate my last run at the Olympics.
To everyone who supported me over the last few months, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I wouldn’t be where I am today without you. Your support and encouragement helped me weather the storm and stay focused on the end goal. Thank you again and I look forward to seeing all of you out on the road.