A logo worth a 1,000 words, literally:
The significance behind my coaching logo comes from a little tale from about 5 years ago. It became my goal around the turn of 2012-2013 to land a podium spot for the 2013 Under 23 National Time Trial. In gearing up for that, I set out to ride my fastest 100 miles ever. In early February 2013, I heard of an event called the Gran Fondo Brevard. This was a unique event where any bike was allowed and it was treated like a 110 mile race. Immediately in my mind, I created a goal to make this event an opportunity to ride 100 miles solo as fast as I could. So I went all in for this, pulling out my Cervelo P5, skin-suit, aero helmet, and shoe covers. My previous 100 mile solo best was 3 hours 49 minutes back in November, 2012 so immediately, I created a goal to beat this. I was going for a 28.0mph average speed for the 100 miles.
No one knew of this goal I created, nor what my plan was for this event, but I was determined on accomplishing this goal regardless of who showed up or what conditions the event might offer. I did not care what anyone else was doing nor did I care I was one of the few people on a time trial bike. I was here on a mission and nonchalantly rolled up to the start line. This event was 110 miles, so my goal was to warm up for 5 miles then hit it with everything I got for the next 100 miles and get my fastest 100 miles ever. 5 miles in, I set of at 35mph and launched into the 100 mile effort. I did 29.5 miles in the first hour to distance myself from the group and had one other guy follow my wheel. Right after this first hour, I blasted through an unexpectedly sandy turn at 30mph and slid out. With some blood and road rash, I hopped back up and went right back into cruising mode. I dumped a few cold bottles of water on my wounds and continuing moving along. I only spoke a couple words to this guy and realized he wanted to hold my wheel as long as he could to also go for the win. Around 60 miles in, I was not about to make any negotiations and attacked up a bridge and broke away into full throttle mode. I managed close to 29.0mph for the first 50 miles and was on my way to crushing my 100 mile goal. I was feeling on my A game and better than I ever have before. Taking up the entire highway and coming down from the bridge at 45mph, I surged on; where this picture below was taken.
Around 70 miles in, I was notified that I was going to be disqualified for riding a time trial bike by the motor cop who was following me. Full of rage and disbelief, I rolled my eyes and had a brief mental talk in my mind to not let anything get in my way from my 100 mile goal. Out on the highway alone now, storms starting to roll in and the sky darkened. Headwind began to take place and for a moment, I contemplated my options of abandonment. Immediately in my mind, I began to think to that song “Perpetual” by VNV Nation I had just heard the week before for the first time. The lyrics began to flow through my entire body and the driving beat kept me going and focused like I was possessed by mother nature.”Through the storm fronts we will ever surely pass”. Every crackle of lightning and rumble of thunder fueled me and I kept the pace rolling. I thought of the VNV Nation motto “Victory Not Vengeance” and fueled my anger into accomplishing my goal, not throwing a fit and quitting the race. I turned to the spiritual power of mother nature to power me through this ride all the way to the end. Bring on the wind, lightning, and storm fronts.
Around 95 miles in the wind shifted a little bit to a tailwind and I began to see my goal right in front of me slowly come into fruition. As the 105 mile mark rolled in, I completed my 100 mile split in 3 hours and 34 minutes. An amazing feeling of euphoria began to flow through my body as I had accomplished my goal I set out for. When I rolled through the finish line at the Gran Fondo Brevard, I did not get announced as the winner nor did I get any social recognition. Only a few individuals knew what was going on and that I had just ridden 100 miles in 28mph solo. The race promoter made it a stand that I was not crowned the Gran Fondo Champion. 15 minutes later, Calixto (the guy who latched on in the beginning) came rolling through the line and was announced as the Gran Fondo Brevard champion.
“Victory not Vengeance”, I told myself as I rested in the car after cleaning up my wounds. Rather than cause a scene, I turned to one of my number one supporters and sponsors from First Green Bank, Ken LaRoe to right back what was wrong. He had a “friendly” talk with the race promoter, who clearly changed the rules in the middle of the race from saying time trial bikes were allowed, to time trial bikes were not allowed. Ken was behind me 100% and had my back. There was a nice prize of $750 for first place which I wasn’t about to surrender too. After a good couple hours of getting the drama settled out, things were finalized and I was crowned the “time trial winner” and awarded the $750. Being the “time trial winner” and the $750 was nice, but it wasn’t the ultimate satisfaction I got out of the day. It was the fact that I came out with my goal of riding 100 miles at 28.0mph and conquered it.
This day at the Gran Fondo was a unique opportunity to challenge myself on the bike to my fullest potential for 110 miles. I could have let the people pursued me into riding a road bike, I could have stopped after I crashed, I could have stopped after the event promoter tried to disqualify me. NONE of those people or struggles let me stop my goal that I set out for that day. In fact, they only empowered me more to conquer my goal. I knew what my goal was that day and I knew that I had a few powerful people supporting me to help me in the event of injustice. I did not need a flock of sheep for validation nor did I care. The rules ended up changing for this event for the years to come, so I am glad I got that opportunity to push myself to one of my best performances ever.
The biggest take way from this experience is to set your goals for yourself and go all in with these goals regardless of what anyone thinks or what anyone else is doing. Prove it to yourself before anyone else. Stand up for yourself when you need to and don’t back down. The road to glory and triumph can get ugly and messy sometimes but if you channel that into empowering yourself, there will never be any regret.
This situation and others have driven me as a coach to motivate and push people into accomplishing their goals. The Perezluha Coaching logo represents that the process of becoming a champion isn’t represented by a pretty podium picture. Its tongue out and seeing how bad you really want to accomplish your goal. It is the suffering, pain, and conflict that can ultimately result in the best performance of your life. The beast in you, will connect pain and suffering with strong adrenaline and fluent focus to fuel your performance.
It is also a huge reminder to always strive for Independent Confidence versus Dependent Confidence. Independent Confidence is a confidence you possess by yourself seeking no validation from anyone except yourself. With Independent Confidence, you can go anywhere on this planet and will be ok being on your own. Dependent Confidence is where one needs recognition from the pack and needs to prove goals to others. Rest assured, working on your Independent Confidence will never fail you and will become stronger in any situation you ever endure on your own. Stay tuned for more on the topic of Independent vs Dependent Confidence.