We continue our series expressing gratitude for moments in 2016, with Salsa sponsored athlete Jay Petervary. -Kid
In a year when I raced in Alaska and Italy, directed races in Idaho, spent time touring the Pacific Coast with my favorite riding partner, T-Race, and attended fun and fulfilling Salsa events and camps, I’m not sure where to begin.
I have so much to be grateful for in 2016 in my cycling life, especially since “bike life” has become my whole life! The progression has taken years, but now my “bike life” is how I make my living and for that I’m grateful. There are two overarching themes that immediately come to mind that help me achieve this “bike life.”
First are relationships: When it comes to my “bike life” the relationships I have built and continue to grow in the cycling industry are something I am grateful for.
There are many people I communicate with in the cycling industry throughout the year, and something I’ve found to be pretty common across the board is that everyone is fairly genuine, passionate in their field, and in general, want to help others as much as they can. For me, there is a business side and working relationship to be had, but I am proud to say most of these people have also become my friends. My partnership development over the past year with QBP, Salsa, and 45NRTH is a relationship I am truly grateful for. I have a great deal of respect for the mothership of QBP beyond how they run their business and treat their employees, but also with the investments and risks they have taken in the niche (or not so niche anymore) categories of cycling—adventure riding, bikepacking, fat bikes, and gravel. They are the categories that I have a passion for and represent.
There are professional road cyclists riding the Tour de France, there are professional downhillers hucking themselves off cliffs, there are professional cross-country riders trying to make the Olympics, and I am truly grateful for the help of QBP to have carved out a professional side in my “bike life.” I truly feel it is something we should both be proud of; I know I am!
The second part of the overarching theme are the opportunities. Opportunities come and go, some are self-created, and others are offered. There was a time I would say yes to everything that was offered to me. I have recently learned to say no and at times had to pick and choose the opportunities that help me grow as a cyclist and promote my sponsors and personal brand. This past year, I had a handful of opportunities that helped fill my calendar, but there were two that stood out. One was the opportunity to be a part of the first edition of the Italy Divide. It was my second trip to Italy to help with a bikepacking event.
Since that first trip, I have made many friends, created quite the following, and learned I love that country. I wasn’t going to let this opportunity slip by. Riding from Rome, north, to Lake Garda, seeing places like Florence and Bologna, and crossing through Tuscany was an amazing experience/event that I would recommend to anyone. Let me top that off with the amazing food, wonderful people, the beautiful landscape and a course challenging enough that I will be back in 2017!
The other stand out opportunity was riding the Trans Am Bike Race with a good friend of mine Mark Seaburg. This route is incredibly beautiful and diverse. Overall, it was a process I learned from. It required a different set-up, the development of new systems, perseverance, and overcoming challenges. It taught me a lot about myself as well as others. It also provided me with an experience that I will never forget. I suggest trying an event as a team one day or just plain ride with someone to help them achieve a goal. Trust me; you won’t regret it.
Right now (with the help of my brilliant bean-counting wife) I’m filing my taxes as a professional athlete—I honestly can’t believe I am even typing that. 2016 will be a year to remember, a year of strengthening my professional relationships, building my brand, and jumping at awesome opportunities, and for that, I am grateful and proud.