As this new year seems to fly by (I can’t believe we are into February already!) I realised that life got so busy and I hadn’t done a blog in a very long time.  So thought I had better put my fingers to the keyboard and talk about not only my last year but to put a question to everyone…How do you define yourself?

My 2017 was another amazing year which started out with having my mom here in Australia until mid February and then my training picked up and I was off on another incredible year of training and racing overseas.  I had some ok results and some great results culminating in winning back my World Championship in the Road Race and also keeping my World Championship in the Time Trial (although my competitors are certainly getting closer!)  I was then honoured to win the Victorian and Australian Female Paracyclist of the Year.  Then to top it off came away with the top award at the Victorian Institute of Sport – The Award of Excellence.  This blew me away because I remember almost 11 years ago walking through the doors of the VIS to see pictures of the other winners of this award, my idols, on the wall!  I couldn’t believe that I was now going to be up there amongst them.  Still a couple of months later I shake my head in disbelief.

Photo courtesy of Mark Dadswell

When I accepted the award I don’t really remember exactly what I said…for the first time ever I was completely unprepared because I didn’t think I had a hope in hell of winning it!  But I do remember I told the young athletes present that they shouldn’t define themselves by their sport.  Yes we are athletes but we are much more than that.

When I was diagnosed with MS I wasn’t going to let MS define who I was, it was something that was a part of me and I would live with it.  So when I meet people and get asked what I do I realised I have to stop using one word to define myself.  Yes I am a cyclist, yes I am an author, yes I am a speaker, but they aren’t the only things that define who I am.  I have decided that when I meet someone I am going to stop asking them what they do and instead ask “Who are you?”

We are so much more than our jobs, our illnesses, our sport.  We are; our core values, our positions in our families, our religion, our sexual orientation, our relationship status, our beliefs…and the list could go on.  I honestly still can’t put into words yet how I define myself, but it’s something that I am going to work on this year.  It will be my own personal vision and mission statement as to how I define myself.  See if you can come up with your own definition of Who You Are, not just the superficial things but the things that really matter deep down inside.  I would love to hear what you come up with.

As for 2018 other than defining who I am, I will once again be travelling the world, training and racing in World Cups and the World Championships.  I’ll then head to Toronto towards the end of August to visit family and friends.

Until my next blog I wish you all a safe and happy season, whether that be summer or winter in your part of the world!