Posts written by Carmen Small



It has been over three months since I crashed in a race and hit my head so hard it knocked me out for about a minute.  I remember laying there face down in the road, confused where I was and thinking what is this guy doing talking to me and what language is he speaking.  He rolls me over and I understand now I was bike racing and they now are trying to get me out of the middle of the road so the cars can pass.  I have a lot of people speaking to me but to be honest it is all a foggy haze and I really don’t know at the time what was going on.

Bo, the DS, put into the ambulance and then they decide to put me in the ambulance car to take me to the hospital.  I look down and see my foot is sticking out of the side of my shoe, I think to myself that’s a little weird.  I take other innovatory on my body and nothing is too scraped up or for sure nothing broken.  I have a small amount of road rash on the top of my shoulder.  Still pretty dazed I am now feeling sick, really sick and I need to lay down.  I lay down in the back seat and ask if I can have a blanket because I am getting uncontrollable bouts of chills and shakes.  This isn’t good I think… I get to the hospital and onto a bed and they wheel me into an exam room. They start the exam when, Herman our soigneur walks into the room and tears immediately start streaming down my face.  Did this really happen?  He calms me down and need to leave to the finish but assures me things will be okay and Christophe is coming with my stuff.


I have to pee and I ask the staff if I can go to the bathroom and they tell me no as they are strapping my head to a neck brace.  Really? Now?  How about that I have traveled here without anything!  I just need to go, BAD!  Nope, you have to pee in a bed pan.  What?  Really?  I think it’s a joke, but it’s not…I have never done this before…Okay and go! I hear some talking and in walks Christophe, wait, wait, wait, you have to go back out I’m peeing.  Oh how embracing. Good thing my head was too messed up to realized how embraced I actually was.  Christophe was great and acted like nothing happened.


Once they were finished doing scan and X-rays they let me go back to the hotel where I thought to myself okay I’m fine.  Then I realized I was not fine as I met the girls at dinner.  Trying to keep focused on conversation, I’m sure they could see the vacancy in my eyes they suggested I go back to my room and Herman can bring me food.  This is where I started to sleep… I think I slept for two day and the third day was a bit better but not much.  That following Friday I was to leave to go back to America to get proper help with my head.  It was a long day but I made back to Durango Successful and thankfully the smoothest travel I have ever had coming from Europe.

This is wear this epic journey begins… For 6 weeks I dealt with vertigo which made me feel like I had the most wicked hangover of my life.  Day after Day I was dizzy, sick, headache, and just an overall feeling of not being well.  Week six I headed up to Colorado Springs to see some specialist.  Thankfully the team of Doctors at the Olympic Training Center took me in and help me.  I found relief both mentally and physically.  The vertigo went away and other symptoms started to subside.  All that is left now is this headaches!

I have had a headache for over three months.  Everyday I wake up I think to myself, is it gone?  As I slowly come back to life from a nights sleep, nope it’s still there.  In the mornings and evening it’s the worst but during the day it comes and goes but never completely gone.  The days that it is really bad I can feel like someone is stabbing me in the eye, sometimes it’s like vice grips on my temples, sometimes it’s in my teeth (so bad I want to pull them out) and sometimes its just a dull ache.

We don’t talk about concussions enough.  The problem is, I look fine on the outside but I am not fine.  Not even close to being fine.  I ride and try to stay active because it makes me mentally better.  The 8 weeks being absent from life I experience depression and an overall feeling of helplessness.  A small piece of me felt completely irrelevant and I was beginning to feel pretty hopeless of leading a “normal” life again.  Never mind trying to race again, I was just focused on being able to go to the store, or out to dinner.  As time passed I got better and better and started to be able to train again daily and that helped my mental stability.  The depression sneaks back in there as the headaches increase in severity or frequency and I start to spiral out.  I literally started to go crazy and questioning if I had these headaches before the crash.  I honestly don’t remember the time I didn’t have a headache.  What was that like?  For sure I didn’t have a headache before but I questions myself about that.


Through all of this I have learned a lesson.  Well, at least two lessons, maybe three, let’s call it two and a half.  I remembered that I feeling of love for the bike and remember why I started in the first place.  Being without that freedom to ride for two months was really hard on me mentally.  I love the outdoors and I love the feeling of just being out there for hours and hours exploring.  I love riding with people and sharing that passion for the bike.  This was completely absent for two months and I realized that passion was in my just buried deep deep inside.  I started to hate the bike the past few years of racing and only did it for the end goal, the olympics.  Now I enjoy riding just for riding and love the feeling of being out there like a kid again.


The second thing I learned was my mental stability was very fragile and I needed to understand how to make it healthy again.  As an athlete I alway knew it was important but you tent to put it aside and focus on your physical body first.  I did a lot of “mental” coaching with Blair Wiles the past couple of years preparing for the olympics so I understood the importance of it, but until now I have never really experience depression.  I really need to take time for myself.  This was a hug injury and a lot of times we just dismiss it and you will be fine and get over it and get back to training.  But.. It’s not that easy and the mental side of things really took a tole.  I’m in a better place then I was months ago, but this will also take time.  Feeling relevant and participating in life again is helpful.  You get really down on yourself and it’s hard to climb out of that hole at times.  Moving forward I need to be a little bit more tender with myself and treat myself better, give myself a brake sometimes from the pressure that is self imposed.

The “half” thing I learned was I am not a patient person.  I kind of understood this about myself but not fully until this crash.  I know I like to be doing thing all the time, even if I was “resting” I was working on my coaching or AAC (athlete advisory council) stuff or what ever I could get my hands on.  Being home is not that restful because I always find something to do.  I learned this years ago but I never really thought of it as not being patient.  With this concussion I need to be patient.  It’s a long healing process and even though I feel better then I did a month ago, I still am healing.  I get overwhelmed quickly and have a hard time concentrating and then my head starts to really hurt.  I still have a hard time in social situations when I have too much stimulation.  I am not patient with myself and this is a learning process and it is getting better that is why I am calling it my “half.”


Going home…

I’m sitting in the airport and I have plenty of time to write a blog post…  It’s been too long yet again but for that I’m sorry, but not really (let’s be honest).  It certainly isn’t my favorite thing to do, but in my defense I have been crazy busy with all good stuff.


I raced my last World Tour race with Cylance Pro Cycling, well it was the last World Tour race in Madrid, Spain part of La Vuelta for the men.  They are nice enough to give us a 2 hour race after they have raced for 21 days.  I often think I would like to do a Grand Tour and then I think, nope I don’t really want to do that.  Racing for 21 day doesn’t seem to be that great and a little excessive.  Although I would love to see some more longer tours on the schedule, 10 – 14 days would be great!  Anyways, I ended up 6th and that put me into the top 20 in the World Tour rankings.  Not too bad sense I missed out on both stage races in the World Tour competition (lots of points) and missed a few one day races.  I’m happy with the result because I am not a pure sprinter so a top 10 is good, a top 5 would have been better, and a podium would have been the spectacular.  I did what I could, I’m was improving every race so that’s all I can ask for.  






After Madrid, I had some crazy travel to meet up with the Walton Endurance crew to do a fund raising ride for cancer.  I flew into Tours, France and met up with there BMS team to ride 3 days through France into Spain.  There the Spanish crew takes over and they do 3 days of Spain, and this goes on and on across Europe.  It’s the Country 2 Country Ride 4 Cancer.  This ride inspired me in so many ways, the French team was spectacular and I was so blessed to be a part of there group.  They met there challenge and all came out with smiles on there faces and has a feeling of accomplishment that was pretty overwhelming.  After that ride I flew back to Italy to gather my stuff to take to America, that’s where I am now.  Traveling home…


Freedy (my Italian boyfriend) is obviously very upset with my leaving, I will miss him…

I can’t wait to spend time with my husband and kitties.  Making coffee and cooking good food for friends and family.  Oh yeah, I need to train a little too.  The season isn’t over yet.  I have World Championships in October.  I’m excited to get back home and refocus for a couple more weeks and try to kick ass in Qatar.



A little note…


I’m actually not sure what I wrote the last time I did an update, I guess I could look but I’m not going to and will just write.  I admit I am really horrible about updating, especially when I am unsure what to say or how I actually feel.  I don’t want to just put my words out there before know what my feeling are.  By now, everyone knows how disappointed I was about the Olympics.  The wound is still a gaping hole, it has gotten a little easier to bare now that the Olympics has come and gone but I feel like I was robbed and I wont get that opportunity back in my lifetime.

For the past two years my cycling life has not been easy because of the choices I have made.  Definitely I had some guidance that had gone awry, weather it was ill intended or not ultimately it was my decision and I followed what I thought was right at the time.  There are still a lot of unanswered questions and maybe I will never get the answers to them but I will try to move on.  They say “time will heal…”  blah blah blah, maybe me stuffing my feeling down really deep will heal.  (sarcasm)

Changing teams, yet again in the middle of the season was not ideal… but it happened so trying to make the best of it is what I do.  I am very satisfied with my transfer, Cylance has welcomed me with open arms and I am very pleased to wear there kit.  They have been nothing but helpful, accommodating, and motivating.  Although I have mixed feeling about my results thus far representing them.  I have had several top 10’s in the Women’s World Tour Races, but for me this is not satisfying.  I want to be on the podium.  I feel like it’s time and yesterday I just couldn’t make it happen racing at Plouay.  Although finishing in the front group I really botched the sprint finish.  Maybe I was too oxygen deprived to make the right choice in the sprint but this is part of racing.  On the other hand I was please with how I raced, no one coming into the race (besides Manel) would have thought I would have made the front select group of riders.  I fought hard yesterday and I should be proud of the result.  Corey (my coach) had to remind me that it’s pretty incredible that I am able to race this well considering everything that has happened in the last couple of month.

On the outside you know part of the story but there is much much more that I have dealt with this season that has gone untold.  Sometimes I think to myself is this real?  Why can’t it just be easy?  I guess if it was easy then everyone would do it…

Bottom line, racing my bike doesn’t define me.  I hope I have impacted and influence people in a positive way and I hope to continue to do so.  I’m not sure what lies ahead, but I know the bike has taught me important life lessons and I will continue to grow and learn as a person.

Next up Ride London!

during stage 1 of the women's road race at the 2016 Cascade Cycling Classic on July 20, in Bend, USA. Photo: Matthew Lasala/Lasala Images

during stage 1 of the women’s road race at the 2016 Cascade Cycling Classic on July 20, in Bend, USA. Photo: Matthew Lasala/Lasala Images

I have been avoiding writing a post but I guess it’s time.  The last three weeks have been very very difficult to digest and to be honest I am not quite there and I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.  The analytical side of me says, okay life goes on, it’s time to reset and refocus on the next goal.  The emotional side of me says, my heart is broken and I don’t know how to put it back together.  It’s so strange to me that this disappointment can feel very much like a break up.  My heart is broken, not because of a relationship gone bad but I guess it is very much like a loss. There is a whole in place where this important, grandiose goal was.  It’s just gone… It’s not like I got to go and then failed and couldn’t complete the goal.  My goal was not to just go to Rio but to go there and compete for a medal.  This is where I think my mind becomes confused.  I don’t even get to go try to get a medal, it’s just absent.

At this point we all know the injustice that has been done, so no need to keep repeating and rehashing that.  I desperately need to find away to move one and not be depressed about all that has happened.  Or do I?  That is what I don’t know.  I think it’s important to go through all the feeing and “grieve” if you will, but I find myself wanting that period to be over.  I guess your body and mind will do what it needs to do.  At this point I am just along for the ride until the feeling of hurt, disappointment, pain, and anger dissipate.

Last week was my first race with the new team Cylance  Pro Cycling Team and I really did have a wonderful time.  The staff has been so helpful getting me settle with the new team, my new teammates are wonderful welcoming me midway through the season and I met the men’s team who were equally wonderful.  We had a small team of 4 girls racing Cascade Cycling Classic, it had been three years sense I last competed at this race.  Some of the stages had changed slightly, and I had forgotten how much I like visiting Bend Organ.  Such a nice town!


I really don’t want to write a race report (there were several out from our team and others so if you are dying to know, I’m sure you can find them!) so I will spare you of my boring rehashing of the race.  This is not completely about writing a race report, more to spare me of rehashing some not so nice moments that did happen at that race.  I’m ready to move on and don’t need to comment on this any further.  Let’s just say there are some classy riders out there and maybe some not so classy.  Sad really.


So, I am sitting in an airport lounge heading to my next race.  I am really excited to get back to racing the Women’s World Tour and joining my new teammates.  Being home was really nice, I certainly enjoyed it and was very sad to leave.  But it’s time to get back to the race schedule and looking toward the end of the season, the next big goal World Championships.  The national champion get’s an automatic for the World Championships so I think I am in?  Might need to reread the criteria though, seems like there could be a loophole in that one.  So that’s my next big goal, Qatar in October.

Make sure you stay up to date on our races!  You can follow Cylance on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

July 4th – A note from your National Champion


Firstly – THANK YOU for everyone who has donated and offered encouraging words.  My emotions and feelings have been all over the map.  By now you’ve probably read the articles and interviews.

Why am I in need of help some have asked… to be honest and put it simply the cost to challenge (arbitrate) against USA Cycling will be between 1/4 and 1/2 of my annual salary.  As a professional female cyclist I don’t have endorsement deals and supplemental income.  I certainly don’t earn six figures, I consider myself lucky to be earning 5!  Our sport is certainly evolving with more races available live online and sometimes on TV but we are far from where the mens side of the sport is.  Simply put I need help to pay the legal fee’s associated with challenging my non-selection to the Olympic team.

I am fighting this selection for the simple fact that all my involvement with USA Cycling and everything I’ve ever been told by them said race in Europe, do the big races, do the hard races and race against the best in the world.  This year leading up to the Olympics I took that to heart.  I went to Europe before the Spring and came home just before the National Championships at the end of May.  I did the hard races, I raced against the best and I had good consistent results.

National Championships is a race with the best professional women in the United States.  It’s one of the few times a year we race against one another (it should be considered an Olympic Trials just like Swimming or Track and Field).  I took my whole first half of the season and put my full ability on the road and succeeded.  I beat the best and I beat them by a large margin.  Unfortunately this event isn’t even considered in the USA Cycling Olympic Selection process.

Perhaps I should of stayed in the US racing for a domestic team and had the potential to win these races.  I choose the harder path, the path that had the most potential for real world outcomes in terms of fitness, results, competition and difficulty.  USA Cycling has a goal to succeed in international completion on an international stage.  Their selection process outlined that but didn’t enforce it.  They chose an athlete who hasn’t raced outside the United States since she was in London!

There were rationalizations – they had just raced Tour of California and weren’t able to recover… it was too humid… Rio is humid, the road race there is just a few days before the Time Trial.  If you aren’t willing to go and give it your all for each event and you admit you can’t recover in time to be your best should you really be representing your country in the Olympics?

All the women who were chosen are fantastic and fierce competitors.  Only one of them earned her spot automatically.  One of them didn’t even compete in the National Championships.  I did all that was asked of me by our National Governing Body for the Sport of Cycling.  I’ve done all they have asked for years.  I left their track program because it wasn’t for me.  I put myself at their mercy every year.

There are personalities there just like everywhere else and it’s been written about and published the conflict of interest the person who oversees the whole athletics operations has.  For USA Cycling I have brought home medals twice at the PanAm Championships and once at Worlds.  To discount my ability to perform at the international level is complete insanity.

I ask you in the interest of the future of this sport for professional women – help me go to court, help me to change the system.  Help me be heard and help me realize my Olympic goals.  If I didn’t believe I can make a difference in Rio I wouldn’t go through all of this stress, emotions and chaos.

Thank you,

Carmen Small – Olympic Hopeful

If you believe in what’s possible and want to help please visit the funding page.

USPRO Time Trial Championships, Winston-Salem, NC

USPRO Time Trial Championships, Winston-Salem, NC

How can you support

My friend set up a gofundme to help with the appeal and arbitration fees!  There has been so many people supporting me and asking me how they can help.  Here is the link the the page.

Or click here

Thanks you for all the support through this difficult time, I was truly shocked with my non selection to represent being the current National Time Trail Champion.  I will be writing a blog later this week so check back in.

USPRO Time Trial Championships, Winston-Salem, NC

USPRO Time Trial Championships, Winston-Salem, NC



Here is an update on everything that has been going on:

Durango Herald Article, John Livingston 

Days after being left off the USA Cycling women’s road team for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Durango’s Carmen Small was still fighting back tears.

Four years of preparation suddenly felt meaningless. A 2016 season loaded with accomplishments, including a national championship in the time trial in May, made the snub hard to swallow.

“I’m really devastated,” Small said Saturday in an emotional phone interview with The Durango Herald. “All I can say is that I’m heartbroken.”

While Small is heartbroken, others are outraged. USA Cycling had four seats to award for Brazil. One was guaranteed to Megan Guarnier after she earned an automatic spot for placing third in the 2015 UCI Road World Championships. That left one spot for a road racer and two for the time trial, with both time trial riders required to also compete in the road race in Rio. USA Cycling made a strong selection in Evelyn Stevens, the new hour-record holder and second-ranked woman in the current UCI standings. She’s strong on the road and in the time trial, and the selection committee certainly couldn’t ignore her.

Read more of this article click here

ESPN Article, by Bonnie Ford

Colorado cyclist Carmen Small will request arbitration to challenge her omission from the U.S. Olympic team in the time trial event, she and her lawyer confirmed Tuesday.

Small, 36, of Durango, won her second national time trial championship in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, last month with a gap of 1 minute, 8.56 seconds over two-time defending Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong and 1:53.02 over Evelyn Stevens, the other rider selected for the Rio 2016 time trial.

The hearing procedure is defined by Section 9 of the U.S. Olympic Committee’s bylaws. A ruling must be made by July 18, the USOC’s roster deadline for the Rio Summer Games, which start Aug. 5.

Small’s lawyer, Howard Jacobs, said he did not want to go into detail about the arguments he plans to make on her behalf. He said Small is not seeking to replace a specific rider, but rather will contend that the selection criteria were not properly interpreted.

Continue reading here

Most Recent Article…

VeloNews, by Fred Dreier

When Carmen Small won the 2016 national time trial championships, she thought she had punched her ticket to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The result came on the heels of a strong European campaign for the 36-year-old Durango, Colorado resident. And while Small hadn’t earned an automatic selection onto the American team — only Megan Guarnier had achieved that — she believed her results would elevate her over the country’s other best time trial riders in the eyes of USA Cycling’s selection committee.

Small was wrong. Last week, USA Cycling named the four-woman team for Rio: Kristin Armstrong, Evelyn Stevens, Mara Abbott, and Guarnier.

This week, Small launched an official appeal to the decision. She and her lawyer, longtime sports attorney Howard Jacobs, have requested arbitration. VeloNews caught up with Small to discuss her decision to go to arbitration.

Click here to continue reading

I will write a blog this week, so stay tuned!


The quiet before the storm

I have been pretty quiet sense I have been back from Europe, I’m not exactly sure why but maybe for no one reason.  Part of the reason is I really don’t like to write and not particularly good at it.  So if I have to choose to write something or just update my Facebook, Instagram, or twitter I usually will choose the later.  A lot happened from the past blog post from April 22 and my return to America May 4th.  A stage Racing, crazy travel home, and looking forward towards the next goal.

The last race for me before coming back to the States was a race in Luxenburg.  I was please with how that race went, I felt strong and spent some time off the front of one of the races where I won the Climbers Jersey.  I held onto it until the end.  Not much else to report about that race.


Then I had some crazy travel home which I wont get into but it took me a solid two days.  I was very happy to finally land in Durango!  Once I was home it was time to take a bit of a break, acclimate to the altitude, and then get down to business for the final push to prepare for US National Championships.  I think I trained harder then I have ever trained before.  Often I found myself cursing my coach, Corey Hart, and thinking to myself “is he trying to kill me?”  I stayed focused trying to eliminate anything that could throw me off course.  As the days ticked by I got more nervous and the day before I left, wow I was a bit of a crazy person.

I have been asked the question why do you think I was so nervous?  I think because I knew I could win.  I had the fitness needed to perform at my best, I had the best equipment, I had the best mechanic to prepare everything for me, I had done all my homework.  Now I just need to put everything together and win.  But there is always this doubt, and you get the what ifs.  I worked really hard to come up with a plan for the course and try to stay focused on the task at hand.  The morning of the race I was so nervous I couldn’t eat my breakfast and I thought to myself wow I am really really nervous.  I don’t think I had been this nervous for any other event in my career.  I arrived at the venue and started my routine.  The nerves didn’t subside as I went through the motions of getting ready and starting my warm up.  I got through my warm up with out puking and headed to the start.  On the starting ramp I nervously got into my pedals, took me about 30 seconds, again with the nerves.  Then the countdown started.  5,4,3,2,1…. I was off and everything went into focusing on what I needed to do.  Around kilometer 12 I had my first slight breakdown and talked myself into keep pushing until the turn around.  As I approached the turn around I saw my 1 minute person and realized I had put quite a bit of time into her.  Then I noticed the person chasing me was not close so that gave me some extra motivation to push harder.  Then I came apart a little around 23km, I knew this section was going to be tricky and I again talked myself into digging deep and with the help of James in the radio I got to 28 more easily then I thought.  I was on the last roller when I started to doubt if I would make it over the hill and was that the last one?  As I crested I realized yes that was the last roller and it was a big push to the finish line.  You can see the last KM here.


USPRO Time Trial Championships, Winston-Salem, NC

USPRO Time Trial Championships, Winston-Salem, NC (Casey Gibson) 


USPRO Time Trial Championships, Winston-Salem, NC

USPRO Time Trial Championships, Winston-Salem, NC  (Casey Gibson) 

As I crossed the finish line I had no thoughts running through my head, I was too tire and had no oxygen to my brain! Jame came over the radio and said I think you just won! He pulled around me and parked the car, a few moments later we understood I had won!  I was without words just thanking him and Courteney Lowe (she was in the car with James and helped me that day) for there help.   I was overwhelmed with shock, joy, excitement, happiness, I guess every emotion one could have.

USPRO Time Trial Championships, Winston-Salem, NC

USPRO Time Trial Championships, Winston-Salem, NC  (Casey Gibson) 

This photo was taken right after I found out I won.  Jame Stanfill and Courteney Lowe.


What does this mean?  I don’t know to be honest… All I know is that I am happy to have the nationals title back and wear the stars and stripes for one more year.  It puts me in a good portion for the olympic selection.  So now we wait to see if I am named to the team.  I am still over the moon.  Hard work really does pay off! Here is a link for the interview after the race.

USPRO Time Trial Championships, Winston-Salem, NC

USPRO Time Trial Championships, Winston-Salem, NC  (Casey Gibson) 


USPRO Time Trial Championships, Winston-Salem, NC

USPRO Time Trial Championships, Winston-Salem, NC (Casey Gibson) 




Lastly, I have to say thanks to everyone who has helped me along this journey.  Some people don’t even know how you have helped, I am always overwhelmed with how caring people actually can be out of the goodness of there hearts.  My Coach Corey Hart has believed in me for the past 10 years, we have been though a lifetime together and he knows me better then myself in so many ways.  My family of course who has seen me succeed but also fail miserably but have always encouraged me to keep following my dreams.  My husband who puts up with my craziness and me being absent from home so much in the past four years.  He always is a good shoulder to cry on, he listens to me complain, and be crazy about overthinking everything, and keeping me present in the goals I have made.  My cats of course, Karen and Hansi for teaching me the importance of recovery.  My trade team for supporting me this season and being a rock solid group of girls that are not only my teammates but my friends.  My trade team staff, who got me through 3.5 months of crazy European racing and living.  Thomas who pushed me to my limits and made me see that I belonged in the front group at every race and I had the ability to win these races.  Patrick who always had our machines dialed and put up with my crazy perfections about the TT bike. Last but not least Jonathan who is numero uno!  He knows what I need before I ask for it, he is one of the best soigneur I have ever worked with.


Take a look at me winning Nationals!

My good friend and amazing mechanic, James Stanfill wrote a blog and posted a video! Check it out!



Going for Gold

As a professional mechanic I’ve been honored and lucky enough to work with a lot of great athletes.  The video below is a great friend of mine Carmen Small winning her 2nd Professional Women’s USA Cycling National Championship.  I’ve worked with Carmen a lot over the last few years, this year she crushed it!  She didn’t just win, she won in style.

As you can see in this video she is all over the road and has left nothing behind at the finish.  To put things into perspective her last KM was only 3 seconds slower than Taylor Phinney.

Keep reading click here

Giving Thanks



I am massively over due for an update, but now I am completely overwhelmed and have no idea where to even start.  So I will start with some words of thanks and not about racing.  I have been very blessed throughout my life with people who have supported me.  My whole life I have been surrounded by people who have suck by my side, supported me, and given me the confidence to move forward holding my head up high whether it was sports, school, or life. Not to say there hasn’t been a lack of confidence at times.  Looking back from when I was just little girl participating in gymnastics where it all started.  The coaches noticed that I was naturally good at and pushed me to do competitions, this started my competitive nature started.  Well, let’s back up, I think this competitiveness was always in me.  Playing in the neighborhood I was always wanting to play what ever games the kids were playing, but not just participate I wanted to win. I wanted to beat everyone and be the best.  So naturally I would have pushed gymnastics to the next level but there is no way I could have done it alone.  My parents supported me and took me to the events and drove me to practice, other parents help out, just an overwhelming support system at the age of 10.  I soon started kayaking and this took over my life, I kayaked competitively for 5 years and loved every second.  Again, I was so lucky to have coaches around to help and push me to go to nationals and to do my very best.  My father drove me and my boat around the country for years.  My summer was filled with kayak trips around the states with our crew of people and racing the local and national races and having fun.

Next up is Ron Klatt was one of the most significant coaches in my life growing up (Nordic ski racing).  He taught me the value of hard work, responsibility, passion for a sport, and most of all surrounding yourself with good people.  I took this sport to the next level under his guidance and will never forget the values he instilled in me.  And of course I can’t forget my dad again.  He was always around coaching Durango Nordic, spending hours in the car driving everyone around, pushing me to my limits as well as other athletes.

Volleyball was my first love and real passion for a sport, different from the sports I had participated in before because this was a team sport.  I think this is part of why I loved it so much.  I love the dynamics of a group.  I love the team feeling because its like a family for me, relying on other and others helping you to achieve the same goal.  I was very blessed with having a great coach midway through my high school career, Michelle Brown.  What an incredible person. She restored our love for the sport and took us to the next level.  Under Michelle we won state championships and I was awarded the MVP my senior year.  It wasn’t all about winning, although we won a lot, it was about what she stood for.  First thing was hard work and staying focussed.  I loved that she had so much passion for the sport and you could literally feel it and it was contagious.  Second she instilled supporting one another, we all had our limitations but together as a team we could be the best.  We needed to believe in one another and lift each other up.  This was a very special time in my life.

In college I had numerous teaches push me with my academics at Colorado State University.  I was lucky that sport came second during this time and I really had a different experience with what I was passionate about.  This is where I discovered my passion for education, influencing me to study mathematics and was able to get my teachers license.  I found a deep love for math, tutoring, and teaching.  Throughout my time at CSU, I had several teachers take an interest to me and help guide me to what I really wanted to accomplish.  I found people to support me and I earned a mathematics degrees and a minor in education.  I was then reunited with a teacher, Chuck Leech, who was a teacher at Durango high school when I was attending that school but was never my teacher.  It was a small school so of course I knew him and his son was also in my grade.  I was placed randomly under him to do my student teaching at Broomfield High School and this could not have worked out better.  He taught me more then he will ever know.  I often look back at that time in my life and think that I really scored and it couldn’t have been better planned.  Chuck taught me about being in the classroom, organization, responsibility, classroom management, compassion for the students, all of those important things to be a successful teacher.  But most importantly he taught me to think about what I wanted to say before I said it and to question myself.  Two things that I had never really thought about before and two things that my life has benefited from and I continue to practice.  Thank you for those tools Chuck.

After about 4.5 years of teaching I quit to pursue the dream to become a professional cyclist.  Again, this didn’t come to most people as a surprise.  Michael Engleman spotted me as a potential talent, even though I had only done one or two bike races (I was a triathlete at that time).  He brought me into a talent ID camp where I met one of the most influential people in my life, Corey Hart.  He has been my coach and friend for over ten years and I have learned a great deal from him.  He has believe in me from the beginning and has given me overwhelming about of support.  I am so lucky to have him in my life.  He has believe in me when I didn’t believe in myself, he has pushed me beyond my limits and kept me going when I didn’t want to go anymore.  He has taught me about cycling, tactics, execution, training, physiology, the list goes on and on.  He has been with me through the ups and down with life and has always stuck by my side.

I have been very lucky in this sport of cycling.  I started off with Carmen D’Lousio who was an exceptional direct and person, she took a chance on me giving me my first “pro” contract and from there I flourished under her guidance.  Through out this sport I have had countless people who have believed in me, maybe even more then I believed in myself.  This blog post will get even longer if I go thought the last ten years of people who believed in me, maybe one day I can write a book (because as you know I love to write).  The point is, I have been lucky to surround myself with people who support me and believe in me. I can make a list but your know who you are and maybe we save it for a later date.  I wouldn’t have gotten to where I have without these people.

My mom Donna Nazario, my step mom Margaret Poer, of course my dad Allen Small who I have mentioned already have all played a crucial part into my success over the years, not only in sports but as a person.  I am blessed to have a wonderful husband, Ben Sonntag, that supports me and of course my cats (Hansi and Karen) who keep me motivated to take recovery seriously.  I have met wonderful friends thought the teams that I have been on and they will remain in my life well after cycling.  I have a great “team” that keeps encouraging me to go above and beyond my limits and I wont forget them.  Life is about surrounding yourself with people who love you and support you and in return you support and love them back.  I wont settle for mediocrity ever and I encourage you to live your life with people who love you and celebrate you because it’s easy to give back to people who are the same.

I will update my races soon, but in the mean time you can check out the team website