Dr. K.C. Wilder: What are some of the best parts of being a bicycle racer?
Melissa Sanborn: Winning. And, the fitness that I gain. The team tactics make it interesting. The best part of bicycle racing is that it is so competitive. I feel healthy when I do it. Honestly, I don’t know how much I really attribute team tactics as one of the best parts of being a bike racer. I know that it is something that I am good at and it gives me a sense of accomplishment when I am at my best.
K.C.: When you say, “competitive”, what does that mean?
MS: Challenging. I like the challenge that I can achieve greatness when it sometimes seems improbable. I set a goal to do something, and I don’t like falling short. Part of the competition is that it keeps making me stronger. I think that I am competitive with myself. There is some kind of inner competition happening.
K.C.: What’s it like living the lifestyle of a bicycle racer?
MS: It’s not glamorous. It can be kind of exhausting. Sometimes people like to talk about racing, and training, and sometimes that gets old. People sometimes like to live vicariously through what I do. I feel like I need to work on my patience. My elevator speech. How far do you ride? Do you know Lance? How far is a criterium? It is not very lucrative in women’s racing. I get some help with travel, but I am responsible for some of my travel expenses. Winning races, and doing well at some races, you can pay yourself back a little bit. I am pretty laid-back so I try to adapt to the situation that I am in. It is frustrating to talk about bicycle racing all of the time. It’s been a good opportunity for me to travel, and to see some neat things and meet some very wonderful people. And, seeing some cool country side. It is like a job. You go to a town, and do your job. You do not do a lot of sight-seeing. It is kind of lonely sometimes. I miss my family. I do feel like I have bonded with some of the girls on the team, so it is nice that I have that to look forward to, and racing together.
K.C.: What keeps you motivated on a daily basis?
M.S.: The life-style would change greatly if I was winning bike races. What keeps me going is that someday I can achieve that. I would like to race on a bigger pro team versus a “young” pro team. That is what keeps me at it. If you are going to ask me why I race. That is probably why I race, because I still think that I can achieve those goals. When I was working in sales I was very goal-oriented. And, being goal oriented has transferred to sport. I feel like I have gotten a late start in cycling. I was 27 years old when I started racing bicycles. Although, I don’t think that age has that much to do with it. It is athleticism, will-power, drive, passion. Really it is about the will-power to achieve those dreams. I think that there is a lot of self-sabotage that happens in the sport. I see it in my clients, and I see it in myself sometimes. There are several racers that are good who are still in their 40’s. I still think about the 2012, and 2016 Olympics. I mostly take it year by year. Last year was horrible because I was sick. This year, I am healthy, and now I need to just get some results. It is so important in racing not to let your mind wander. And, to take risks.
To be continued…(refer to Part II).