March 20 — 2017

From racing around the world to taking on the Juliana Free Agents (and more), Kelli Emmett talks life on a bike.

“When you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in your life.” -Eckhart Tolle

"What do you think you’ll do after racing?" It’s a question so many of my friends have asked when I mentioned that I was retiring from racing. I could feel their nervous stare glaring down on me.

My response: “To be perfectly honest, I have no idea.” I didn’t have a plan for my life after racing. I spent my cycling career living in the present moment and only thinking about how to prepare for my next race. I was terrified of the thought of retiring, since racing had been my life for the past 20 years. I knew this time would come but why wasn’t I more prepared? It was time to move on. My motivation was at an all-time low and racing felt more like a grind instead of a privilege. I was ready to give my spot on the team to another aspiring racer who could appreciate traveling the world more than me. What was I going to do with my time? I decided to give myself a year to be open to whatever the world presented to me and not allow my fear of the unknown to consume me. I believe that some of our greatest opportunities in life are not planned.

Colorado Springs is technically where I call home, but I’ve rarely spend more than a few weeks there each year. Home was where I stored my bikes and gear  while I traveled to races and warm training destinations. This year instead of running to Arizona when the snow started to fly I committed to staying home for the entire winter. I wanted to see if I could enjoy being in one place after so many years of being on the road. Much to my surprise, I found myself enjoying a routine and cultivating deeper relationships with friends who were once acquaintances. I started riding with girlfriends for fun and stopped stressing about training. When the weather turns cold, I head to my favorite hot yoga studio or nearby ski resort and not the trainer. Training is no longer taking priority in my life and I am feeling more balanced physically and mentally this winter than ever before.   

Last December Juliana hired me as the Sport Marketing Coordinator. Now I work from home organizing events with ambassadors and running a new all-women’s Enduro team called the Juliana Free Agents. I’m excited to still be involved with racing and to use my experience to help young talented riders perform at their best.

I’m also hosting seven Ride Out events in mountain towns throughout the U.S. where I’ll be offering yoga, skills clinics and leading rides to local women. These events are about bringing women together to have fun riding bikes and inspire each other to become better riders. Even after all these years, I still love riding my bike and somehow I’ve still landed another dream job where I am paid to live my passion. I’m excited for my next phase in life and I couldn't ever have imagined my transition from racing to work out this well.

Since I am home more this winter, I had the opportunity to go on a backcountry ski trip in Crested Butte for the first time since I moved to Colorado.

Kelli Emmett - Yoga

Juliana Bicycles Image
Christian Murdock

After years of racing, I had developed some back issues and yoga has helped me work through old injuries so that I am almost pain free while biking, skiing, or motoing.

As the Sports Coordinator for Juliana, I am able to work from my favorite coffee shop, Loyal, in Colorado Springs.

I was told consistently as a racer that I was living the dream. I don’t think people realize the stress and the all-consuming lifestyle that racing requires to be successful. And, it has been good for me to let go of all that stress and enjoy activities with those who matter most in life.

Previous Next Post Links

Related Posts