Vanderkitten Racer Melissa Sanborn – Living the Pro Cyclist’s Dream (Part I)

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).

Source by Kathryn C. Wilder, Ph.D.

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