When did the Olympics become a goal of yours? What kind of work went into the Athens preparation?
Things started to happen pretty quickly in terms of my development after making the Trek World team. I became one of the faster Americans. A lot of the other girls had begun to retire at that point. In 2003, I ended up finishing 6th at the World Champs, and I made the 'long team' for the Olympics. The year following was just non-stop traveling and chasing points. I was all over the world trying to get these points. It was really crazy. All of the American women were really closely matched as well. It was a crazy year, and it was really stressful. I would actually wake up in the middle of the night thinking about points, and where I was stacking up. It was stressful. It was probably the worst setup that an athlete could have while trying to do their best. The schedule was exhausting. I definitely have this philosophy that your adrenal glands only have so much pump in them. If you pump them dry, something’s gotta give. Mountain bike racing is really hard. Other sports are as well, but ours is structured in a way that kind of leaves the athlete to their own devices, despite the teams we have. Our contracts only go year-to-year. You’re on your own for coaching. You’re on your own for health insurance. You are on your own in order to make things happen for the team. There’s this guise of a team, and they provide some of the things that you need, but it’s on you to figure out how to make it work. Trek’s support was awesome, but it was on me to figure out how to make the Olympics happen. That’s what ended up happening when all of the shit hit the fan with the points, and the clerical errors. I was there trying to figure out how I was supposed to sort everything out. It was a tough situation for an athlete to be in who had already spent all of this energy doing this 'other' thing.