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Training, Wait, Travel, Race, and Repeat.

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Training, Wait, Travel, Race, and Repeat.

Training, Wait, Travel, Race, and Repeat. That is a pretty long title, huh?

“Training, Wait, Travel, Race, and Repeat”….. over the last 2 1/2 years I have been training with 10 guys with one goal in mind for an event that only 5 guys can attend. That was the Olympic Games.

John Croom USA cycling track team pursuit

Since I was young I never had a set idea on what I wanted to do until I was 19 and I received my first bike. Which was so surreal being that I was 300lbs - I wanted to be a professional cyclist. Why a cyclist? I still couldn’t even answer that question. As a teen I was always good at the basic sports, it would all come naturally to me but with cycling there was a constant chase for success which I am still chasing. Cycling is funny - you can cross all the “t’s” and dot all the “i’s” and come race day one mistake can change your entire event. In November of 2019 - the USA Men’s Team Pursuit Squad knew mathematically there was no chance for them to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games. Now before I dive too deep into this let me make it clear there is still a shot for the Men’s Omnium and Madison which could see the likes of Daniel Holloway, Adrian Hegevary, or Gavin Hoover still take to the line in Tokyo in the Summer of 2020. Now, as far as the Team Pursuit, we were playing a qualification game which we would fall short of early on knowing we needed certain results in the World Cups that USA Cycling was going to select for us to attend. Let me break down what “Training, Wait, Travel, Race and Repeat”… has meant to me over the last 2 ½ years.

Training

For 2 ½ years I have been training and focusing on the Team Pursuit - so this meant specific Vo2 work which meant a lot of time alone on the ergo (revbox) and time in the gym. Trying to be able to produce as much power as I could for the guys. Training also consisted of a lot of USA Cycling Camps - which were hard, you had to always be on form because this was the data that was pulled for selection to the games, but these camps made me better because I was with the same people I was with 2 months ago fighting for the same goal we were fighting for 2 months ago and they would get better - which meant I needed to get better.

 

Wait

We would “wait” - or rest. Hope that all we are doing is working and what we are supposed to be doing or waiting on that selection call to come through to know if we were going to attend the upcoming race on the calendar. Sometimes this was the most stressful call to receive. I have been on both ends of the stick. Getting a call letting you know that “you’ve come up short and better luck next time” all the way to “Alright this is your opportunity...seize it…” - both of these calls are hard in their own right.

 

Travel

John Croom USA cycling track team pursuit

Now it’s time to pack and head to your event - so you load up and get all organized; kiss your family goodbye and head on your own two wheeled adventure with your best mates. Those same guys you’ve been working with (even if that means that all of us aren't always together) for the last 7 months leave their families as well and we all sort of become a family on the road.

 

Race

John Croom USA cycling track team pursuit

Game Time - we check in a give it our all. The nervous thought of “Did we do enough?” “Did plan this right” all rushes through the head as the start clock clicks down. You hear people cheering (usually Lambie’s family - Marv and Tami) but the moment the start clock hits zero and we are off it goes silent. All you can hear is the coach yelling timed splits as we come through the line every lap. As we race we begin to wonder where the other team is on the track in relation. You cross the line - take a breathe and look at the monitor; to only think that that 1-4 minute effort you just trained all year for is now on the monitor that time reflected your training. My season and my training was wrapped up in a 1-4 minute effort.

 

Repeat

John Croom USA cycling track team pursuit

That is that. That one 1km or 4km race is it. Those 1-4 minute times is what defined my entire career and there were some ups and some downs - with those downs only came more will and want for the ups. That being said I will repeat and go for 2024 - being 26 I have already been told I may be a bit too old… which is a hard pill to swallow as before that I was told I was too big but I won’t let the words define me. I'll just let my training and my hard work over the next few years do the talking. This next season I am on my own - with the support of Orucase and a few other sponsors I will lining up at USA Track Nationals along with a bit of UCI Track Racing but Track racing isn't the only thing I plan to dive into as I am registered for Leadville and SBT Gravel so I will have bit of a dirt season ahead of me as well as I transition into the next quad for a shot at 2024 in Paris!