notes from the road: meet gillian carleton


We asked one of our superstar members of the Specialized-lululemon cycling team to share with us what is going through her mind at the beginning of yet-another busy season of racing. Meet Gillian Carleton, a track cyclist from Victoria B.C. who we think is just the cat's pyjamas (she also has the best hair ever!)

the road ahead: an action-packed 2013

As I write this, I'm packing (yet again) for a race. Tomorrow marks the beginning of the 2013 race season, and I'm more than a bit anxious about it. After such an exciting year filled with so many new experiences, thousands of international travel miles, and a fair amount of (good) stress, I feel like I'm being dragged kicking and screaming out the end of this off-season. Just one more week, please!

To be fair, my schedule has been picking up already for a month now. Just last week I returned to B.C. after a very successful first training camp in sunny Portugal with my new team, Specialized-lululemon. As 2013 will be my first professional road season and I'm coming into the whole thing as a bit of a novice, I admit I was quite nervous to start training with my new teammates, most of whom I had never met before! However, my fears were quickly laid to rest by the end of the first day. There's a reason that Specialized-lululemon is the most successful women's team in the world - the staff, riders, and sponsors are hand-picked from the best, and they all bring something unique and important to the table. I am so incredibly excited to contribute to that tradition of excellence in the next year.


However, with excellence comes expectations. both internal and external. I am so proud of what I've accomplished in my short career, but I'm well aware that the bar has been raised for next year, and the next four years. Hence my desire for a just a few more days away from it all, a desire that I'm sure is shared by many.

This year, it is my personal goal to acknowledge these feelings; acknowledge and accept that I am human and that it is normal to feel nervous about things that matter.

By end of day tomorrow, after 100+ laps at breakneck speed on the velodrome, any anxiety I may have inwardly harboured will be gone. I'm a professional athlete, and in my heart there is really nothing I love more than competition....and honestly, there's no head space left for self-doubt anyway when I'm pushing myself harder than ever before.

What are the little things you try to achieve that accompany the big goals you are accomplishing? Is it appreciating the little moments? Embracing failure? Share with us what small things you concentrate on while climbing your proverbial "goal mountains".

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The little things I try to achieve that accompany the big goals I am accomplishing are actually enjoying the small milestones of victory. My wife and I are very different, I am too much a perfectionist and I find that I could not bring myself to enjoy the training process towards a marathon. I was too focused on the final result. My wife lovingly reminded of the small milestones (25k, 30k, and 35k) that I would achieve. I agree with you in that it is important to appreciate the little things.

Comment by Damian D. — January 11, 2013 @ 2:46 pm

Well done in the Burnaby four day Gillian.

As I watched you racing you learned to ride smarter every day and improved racing against the senior men including Tyler Farrer the team Garmin Sharp sprinter and former track racer of excellence. I am sure this road racing challenge will not exceed your ability to grow and improve.


Comment by Chris Anstey — January 11, 2013 @ 6:35 pm

Good luck to the Specialized-Lululemon Cycling Team in 2013!
A small (but sometimes large) thing I concentrate on breaking through is the “fear emotions” that pop up. What if I’m not good enough? What if I screw up? I know to push through these moments of fear or anxiety it will help me accomplish something big. When I’m feeling fear of change, I know I’m onto something big in life ;)
Holistic Health Coach

Comment by Michelle — January 12, 2013 @ 8:32 am

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