Wow I keep pinching myself to see if I am awake and this has really happened. After last weekends racing in Matane at the World Cup I assumed the Canadian Marie-Eve would be with me for the entire 3 laps.
The weather was fabulous (finally), a lovely 21 degrees but felt much warmer in the sun. Most of the course was in the sunshine and at one point I thought it may be to my detriment as my body doesn’t handle heat at all! But I had my support staff spraying me with water each lap which helped a lot!
Marie-Eve and I dropped the rest of the riders about 3km into the race and for the entire first lap worked together. She is extremely fast on corners so I let her take most of them. She also scares the bejesus out of me so I am happy for her to go through them first, but I knew I was a better climber, so was testing her on the hills.
We came through the start/finish line and started the second lap and the climb. Halfway up the hill I tried to get her to take a turn on the front, but no matter which side I went to she followed. At one point I slowed right down and tried to slip in behind her. I had a look at her and she was really struggling, so with advice from a number of people before the race I decided to really test her. I told her I wasn’t dragging her up the hill and with that I surged. As I turned the next corner I looked back and couldn’t see her! I had broken away with still 2 laps to complete!
I decided I just needed to try and pull even farther away from her, so I was fairly cautious on the corners but climbed every hill like she was on my tail. About halfway around the 2nd lap I was advised that I was 33secs ahead of her and 2:25 ahead of the others. To me 33 wasn’t enough because I know how good she is technically, so I kept doing what I had been doing. Halfway through the last lap our head coach Peter Day was on one of the corners yelling at me to be safe on the corners as I had a huge lead…that still didn’t tell me how much, but I did as I was told. However it is not in my nature to take it easy and for everything else I gunned it, even sprinting to the finish line!
By the time I finished I was spent and it felt like I had just done a full on time trial! But I couldn’t believe that I had just won, to be honest I don’t know if I was as confident coming into this race as the Time Trial, however I am happy to say that once out there my confidence grew with every kilometre!
Never in my wildest dreams did I think that after last year and the Paralympics, I would still be racing at this level, let alone winning.
This morning I read an email that I get daily and it fit so well, part of it read:
“Instead of avoiding the challenges, embrace them. Instead of being intimidated by the limitations, be inspired to find new ways around them. You don’t have to settle for just getting by or merely making it through the day. You are capable of so very much more, so go for it. Realise what a magnificent opportunity you have, right here and now. And fully live the grand adventure that is your life.”
So thank you Ralph Marston, these words fit my day perfectly!