After many years of training in Chula Vista, it’s now time to pack-up for good. There is no leaving behind a suitcase at a teammates house, a bike locked up onsite or a mattress in storage. This time, it all has to go!
It’s a bittersweet moment; a little sad and also invigorating. After all, how could I feel anything but excited when the Olympics are nearing and my moment to be reunited with my family is just around the bend. Both events get my blood pumping.
As I sit and look around my empty bedroom, I think about all the hours spent in Chula Vista over the course of a decade. Yes, I said it “decade”… oh, how I hate to date myself.
I started coming to Chula Vista as a member of the U21 National Team when I was just 18 years old. I remember my first rode trip out west, all alone and extremely nervous about what was ahead.
I was in college and flew into the San Diego Airport late at night. Around midnight, I was transported to the Olympic Training Center by a blue shuttle bus and prepaid driver. He started heading south on the freeway and I anxiously peered out the back window. After all, I had never been in California before. I wanted to know if it was just like in the movies.
Ten minutes had passed and we exited onto a two lane, very dark road. I could no longer see anything out the window. I thought the surrounding seemed strange and could not imagine where this training center was located. We continued down the pitch-black road for nearly fifteen minutes and we were still nowhere near any sign of habitation. Now my heart was racing and I was sure the driver was taking me to Mexico to abduct me. I was beginning to sweat.
Sure enough, around the dark roads we traveled and eventually pulled up to a beautiful gate that read “Olympic Athlete Entrance”
It is still the same gate I go through today. But, now the scenery along the way is much different. The two-lane road has turned into a four and sometimes six-lane freeway. It is illuminated with bright lights and packed with homes and numerous shopping centers.
This part of the world has grown ten-fold over the last fourteen years. I hope to one-day return with my family and show the boys where Mommy spent her years on the hockey pitch.
Until then, I wish everyone at the OTC all the best. And, thank you very much for creating such a wonderful training environment for so many years!