This is the last instalment of my 5 part series on what I deal with on a daily basis in order to train and compete as an Elite Para Cyclist.
I love racing, in fact if truth be known racing to me is much more fun than training. I love the fact that I get those little nervous moments just before I’m about to race, it gets my heart going and the endorphins flowing through my brain. But after a race I need assistance to get off my trike because I get tremors in my legs. (This part I’m not too fond of) It’s usually because I have put so much energy into doing the best that I can do. It always happens at the end of a race because of the intensity but more recently it has started to happen during a race or during a hard training session.
The first time it happened during a race was in Spain at a World Cup in 2014. I was trying to catch each rider during the time trial and only had about 800 meters to go with one rider to catch when my left leg started to shake. Let me tell you it is very hard to keep a smooth pedal stroke when your leg decides it wants to shake side to side! I actually started yelling at it as I was riding and I can’t tell you the words I used while telling it to go away! Luckily I was able to finish but I didn’t catch that last girl, which really didn’t matter but it was my goal within the race.
With the unpredictability of Multiple Sclerosis and the fact that it is a degenerative disease, I guess this hasn’t really surprised me. I have been very lucky in the fact that my disease really hasn’t progressed too badly and I thank exercise for that. But it does get frustrating when you are having a great training session with some intense intervals and your leg decides it’s just going to do what it wants. I am getting used to it, the bruises I get on the inside of my leg due to hitting the cross bar and I am working in the gym really hard to build the outside muscles to try and combat it. I guess it’s just one more of those things to deal with.
I wanted to write these articles not to get sympathy from people but to educate people about what it takes to be at the top and stay at the top. I love my life and the fact that I can go out and do what I love every day. I was asked a question by a 9 year old girl “If you could go back in time and change the fact that you were diagnosed with MS, would you?” and my reply to her was a definite “NO”.
MS has made me who I am and given me so many opportunities that I would have never had. I wouldn’t have met most of the people in my life right now, I wouldn’t have written a book, I wouldn’t have represented Australia in two sports, I wouldn’t have started my charity event and I would not be the person I am today. Would I like a cure? You bet!!! And it will happen one day, but until then I will just keep dealing with my symptoms, keep enjoying my cycling and live life to the fullest. After all my next goal isn’t that far away, only 290 days until the 2016 Rio Paralympics start and that will be here before we know it!