Saturday, November 28, 2015

Graduated from highschool and my big announcment

Greetings, I know it's been a really really really long time, my Dad reminds me of this every day. Although I did not formally graduate from highschool with a big ceremony, these last six months have been a time of searching and contemplation. The expected normal avenue for one to take would have been for me to commit to a college, do collegiate cycling, and pursue a degree in something. However I've long known this would most likely not be the path I want to follow. So I spent this year based more in the US, doing the mountain stage races around the country, working on the farm, and enjoying my family. Not having the pressure to race a full cross season but enjoying being home during the fall, my favorite season in Minnesota, and helping my family grow its business has been refreshing. As I have reflected on the experiences and travels of my past, one thing has stood out more then the rest, the one thing I have known I wanted to get back to. So without further ado, with great excitement, I can finally announce that I will be going back to Basque country to race. This time for the U23/Elite team Hostal Latorre/Telco'm Gimex. The opportunity to go back to the mountains and race road excites me so much I am at a loss for words. This is my dream and it's happening right now. I cannot thank my parents enough for continuing to support me when they have every right to kick my out of the house. It all starts off with moving to Tuscon for the winter. I hope you will continue to follow along with me in my adventures, thanks for being with me this far. The following is a thought out summary of my K through 12 education. 

I started homeschooling part way through first grade. At the time my family raced dogs. We were traveling to Alaska to do the Iditarod and my teachers said I would miss too much school. So my parents pulled me out of school and life changed for the better.

The kind of homeschooling I do is called Unschooling. This means self selection of subjects to study and self motivation. Unschooling has fostered a love of learning. A large part of Unschooling is done through reading and through my travels and experiences. Traveling to 8 different countries and over half the states in the USA gives you the opportunity to study language, culture, cuisine, history, and more just by immersing in the experience

Homeschooling has been an integral part in pursuing cycling. During the winter, the best time of the day to train is around noon, when it is relatively warm. Because of my flexible schedule the daylight hours are free and I am not forced to ride in the dark. In addition, Homeschooling, specifically Unschooling has allowed for time spent traveling. Most of my senior year was spent away from home. Pursuing athleticism at a high level makes it extremely difficult to work around a normal school day. There are riders who do it, but something is always sacrificed.

As a child the days were spent out in the woods with the dogs. Our property was backed up to thousands of acres of state land that I would explore with some dogs by my side, going further and further each time. Homeschooling allowed me to pursue a love of more "outdoor" sciences such a Biology, Entomology, Geology, Botany, Ecology, and Ornithology. Essentially exploring nature, becoming curious, and looking up the things that were seen.

Most of my education has been through reading. By now, I've read thousands of books throughout all genres and about many subjects. Interestingly, Homeschooling has also provided a social life. I was a part of many Homeschool groups and met good friends who I still enjoy socializing with today.

4H was a primary activity  early on. Showing chickens, science projects, talking about dog sledding, and meeting friends. This tied into my love of animals and contributed to raising the first pigs sold on our farm to pay for cycling expenses. 

 In addition to reading and life experiences I learned from adults in many diverse careers. Politicians, Physiologists, Professional mushers, Professional cyclists, Mechanics, Farmers, and even professional rally car drivers.

During Highschool I traveled all over the states and the world. EuroCrossCamp was the first venture in Europe. The memory is still vivid. I was so excited. This had been a major goal for me. To race on the legendary courses all the professionals raced on. I worked extremely hard to get there and the whole trip was like being a kid in candyland. The first thing you notice in a foreign country is the different language. Most people in Belgium speak English, but I made an effort to learn some rudimentary Dutch in order to exchange pleasantries with the local and be able to read the road signs a little better. The second time in Belgium was a much longer trip and started with a World Cup in the Netherlands. This trip lasted for a few months and culmated with the World Cup at Koksijde. During this time I stayed with a local Belgian host family -the Segers- who became life long friends who I enjoy visiting whenever I am in the area. They were very kind, welcoming me into the family and showing me really cool architecture such as the Atomnium in Brussels, the unbelievably massive Saint Nicholas' church, and the castle Het Gravensteen in Ghent.

Het Gravensteen
the Atomnium

Saint Nicholas' church

The next trip was to Basque country in the north of Spain. I had a wonderful Host family, the Munixtas, who welcomed me into their home and family and cheered me up when I felt homesick. My host mother even took care of me when I had road rash. This was my longest trip so far and I learned so much. Basque culture is very different from Spanish, they have their own language, cuisine, and landscape. During my stay in Basque country, my team took a trip to watch The Tour De France, which was an amazing experience. Watching the best in my sport duke it out in person was incredible, and the French landscape in the Pyrenees is very beautiful. A few weeks later was my first trip to the UK, wherein I spent a fair amount of time in Scotland, interestingly, while the discussion for the vote for independence was happening. Riding on the left side of the road was difficult, and the whole transportation situation created by the much higher gas prices was different. Because of the vote that was going on, there was a lot of Scottish cultural pride parades and protests. Hearing and reading both sides of the argument was fascinating
Basque Country

Tour De France


This year I spent time in Arkansas, California, and Belgium. Experiencing California for the first time was amazing. Belgium was, as always, very fun and knowing even more about the culture it felt easier to go in depth and learn more.

The freedom to learn what you want when you want it allows you to enjoy learning for what it is, a lot of fun! I don't dread learning, I enjoy it, and because I enjoy it, I retain it.

No comments:

Post a Comment