One More Year?
After completing my last race with the Jayco AIS Under 23 team in September 2015, I had one big decision to make! I was 22 years old, just completed my third season in Europe and still hadn’t cracked the “serious” results mark – the type of results that put you in contention for a WorldTour Contract. In a way it was an exciting situation due to the dramatic change that could be coming but also daunting, as I had been a full time cyclist for the previous five years and known nothing different.
I had completed a small amount of study while competing and this was the standout option for me to take - to complete the business degree I started in 2013. But there is always an element of unknown in the sport of cycling and the “what if” thought was thrown around a lot. Questions get bounced around my head continuously: why not one more year? Next year could be my year? Have I reached my potential?
Throughout my final season, my enjoyment of the sport consisted of many peaks – the summer of racing in Australia, team success winning the Under 23 Tour of Flanders and being able to live and training with six of my best friends in an unbelievable part of the world. But it also consisted of multiple low points – some races I really struggled for personal motivation and I had sections of training blocks where cycling started to feel like a household chore, rather than the sport I loved. This created a lot of personal confusion, as there were points where I really wanted a change and defiantly didn’t want to continue but also times where I still enjoyed the sport, with the “what if” thought always pondering in my mind. Forgoing the World Tour dream was a tough decision.
After considering of my current goals and the significant enjoyment fluctuations I had experienced throughout my final year, I decided it was time to make a change and move back to Australia to focus on completing my University degree.
In 2016 I went back to University, which took a lot of adapting to - the concept of sitting down and “studying” was a skill that took time but overall it was a fun and exciting change. During the year, I was fortunate to be able to secure a part time/internship with Signature Sport and create the Stanley Street Social with my good friend Campbell Flakemore. This enabled me to still be involved in cycling but from a different perspective.
I’m now coming to the close of my degree and facing some similar questions that I was pondering at the end of 2015 – what do I do now? This time with even less direction! But as before, it’s another exciting time as there is so much unknown.
I thoroughly enjoyed my transition from an athlete to “normal” life and the new challenges that I now face. I don’t regret the time I spent as a cyclist (except I didn't have a red hot crack at learning the Italian language) and would 100% recommend that anyone who gets an opportunity to pursue their sport as far as they can possibly go. The sport was a fantastic way for me to develop discipline, motivation and goal setting while working within a team environment. The skills and experiences you gain can definitely be utilised in many different aspects of life, even if the World Tour cycling dream doesn’t eventuate.
See you back at the social club,