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

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