The two pursuits are very similar in so many ways and that’s why as an athlete trying to master my “craft” to the best of my abilities, I strive to be like an artist. I want to dream big enough to aim for exciting goals, but to be fully immersed in every step of the process to get there. And like the artist, I strive to do that by following my own instincts (and my training plan, of course!) and by not fearing outside judgments. And most importantly, by having fun with it!
Wiggle your big toe
If you have ever watched the Kill Bill movies by Quentin Tarantino, you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s one of the iconic opening scenes of the first movie. The main character is sitting in a truck, unable to move her legs after a 4 years coma and she keeps repeating these four words to herself: “Wiggle your big toe. Just wiggle your big toe”.
If you haven’t watched those movies yet, well, let’s be honest…what are you waiting for?!
On my first year on the CLIF Pro Team, I was the youngest duck of the pack by many years and I hadn’t seen any of the movies my teammates were talking about. So the team decided to take care of my movie education. We watched a ton of classic movies from the 80’s and 90’s and Kill Bill really struck me. I had a real woman crush on the character of Beatrix Kiddo (played by Uma Thurman). She was smart, fearless, pretty, and so freaking badass while still being fair. She became a role model for me; kind of like an alter ego. At the races, I started trying to channel my inner Beatrix Kiddo. A slightly more mellow version of her, though… I never intended to slice anyone’s throat or to slice anyone’s anything, for that matter! Not even a tire. I wouldn’t dare! Remember, as fierce as she is, B. Kiddo always stayed fair. But her fighting spirit is what I was after. If I could be as determined and as fearless as her, I felt like I could conquer anything.
That’s why I have a quote of her on my jersey. “Wiggle your big toe” is a reminder to channel my inner Beatrix Kiddo. That quote is also a reminder that, no matter how big and scary the task ahead of you may seem, you have to start by the first step and by doing the basics properly. Whether it be during a daunting interval session, during a big race, or while doing a complicated woodworking project, all you can do is focus on the things you can control and accomplish those steps one by one. A good reminder to stay in the present moment and to just “Wiggle your big toe”. Or do one more pedal stroke.
What’s in my back pocket? Well, of course there are always a few good snacks! But there is another special thing in the pocket of that particular jersey.
I decided to put something that was important for me. It’s a symbol of unity and of celebration. It symbolizes my team; the people I love, the people that support me, and the people who make this journey so enjoyable.
On the image, each segments represent people that are important to me and that inspire me; my family, friends, coach, team, and sponsors. However, this symbol unites all the segments to form a whole; to form a team. It’s a reminder that a group is much stronger than any individual.
Those people are pretty much the only reason I am able to pursue my dream and it’s very motivating for me to know that I have this strong group of people with me at all times. That’s why I wanted to have a small piece of all of them on my jersey. They make me happy and they make be a better person!