“Cranked” with Kit Karzen

This is the Life

Hey guys, welcome to my blog here at the one and only Bicycle.net! You’ll find a good amount of my banter here as I make my way through my first season as a U23 rider on Team NOW-MS Society. I’m also very fortunate to be able to communicate some of my experiences to younger riders and hopefully guide them to a smoother road to their goals.

Now to some blogging. As you’ve probably made a couple pedal strokes by now, there’s no need for introduction to the sport of bike racing.

There are some underlying facts that often get overlooked or underestimated. Bike racing is quite a handful of a sport, especially for a junior. On one end of the spectrum, you basically have the coolest sport out there. The traveling is amazing, the experiences are unforgettable, and the feelings of highs and lows at such a young age are some that may never be experienced by the average Joe. And then there’s the other side of the spectrum. The training is long and tulmultuous, staying in the know with your friends and family is at a major risk of being lost, and the “normal kid” experiences are usually the first to go.

My senior year of High School alone, I missed 8 weeks of school. Missed prom, grad night, and even spent my birthday with a 4 AM wake up call and a day of flying on a 747. Then again, while my friends were busy hitting the books in a classroom, the world became my classroom. There I stood, next the the leaning tower of Pisa, the Berlin Wall, or in the middle of Red Square thinking to myself, ” What did I do to deserve such an amazing life?”, and it’s all thanks to bike racing.

Now until, or even during the point of when you start globe-trotting like a madman, here are a few tips to help keep your mind at ease when traveling like a mad man at such a young age.

1. Get your dictionary, find the word “normal”, and cross is out with a thick, black sharpie. This word is non-existent in this sport. You will start to find that “normal”, is actaully another term for “boring”. It’s fine to take a week, or month to live life as the average Joe during rest periods, but this is the life where you will have more fun than you ever had. I suggest taking a step back every now and then, and reiterate how cool everything is that you have going on.

2. Persistence, patience, and positivity. These three words will help you walk through any scenario. Especially the patience part…don’t worry, you will get exactly you want in due time.

3. Stay in school! I can’t reiterate this enough. That is completely fine if you want to become the great thing that happened to this part since the double-tap shifter, but let’s be real. Having a social life with non-bike racers, and learning how to prioritize homework and training will help you become more organized, focused, and not a complete social retard.

4. Communication. Even more important than number three! I am convinced that this is what makes the world go ’round. The more you blend in your teachers to your program of sport and travels, the more they will feel apart of what you are doing, and therefore more lenient and cool to let that one assignment go, or move that test for you to next week instead of that jet-lagged ridden Monday when you were in Brussels Airport the day before.

Another add-on to number four, communication with friends is a must. When you have no option but to miss your best friends birthday, call and talk often, keep in the loop, and most of all, wish them a happy birthday when the occasion actually arrives. Even if it just happened to be the same day as the 120 mile, climbing queen stage of some bad- ass stage race. Also, talking to friends not circumed in the sport help bring you back down to earth, and allow your mind to enjoy the simpler things in life.

5. Enjoy and have fun. This sport asks too much of an individual to start kidding yourself about your purpose of being here. If the fun is not there, save yourself the time, money, and sanity and think about a change. If you are staying put because of the possible judgement or criticism of those around you, don’t worry about it. People change sports or lifestyles all the time. Just be yourself, and be happy.

6. Spend a couple extra Euros, Franks, or Pesos and buy some gifts for your loved ones, friends, and especially teachers. Teachers like gifts, a lot.

For now, that should keep things going in the right direction. Have fun and safe travels!