The whole trip this last month has been certainly one of wisdom and gratitude. I think that at times we just go with the flow and our days become just one day after another without thinking about what we have learnt or what we have to be grateful for.
My last few days have been the business end of the trip where as an elite athlete we sometimes just take each race as it comes and do the job we are meant to do without thinking about it. But this World Cup for me has been one of a lot of learning and thankfulness.
My Time Trial (TT), which is my favourite event and one I love doing, was this time a bit of the unknown. I was doing the longest TT we have ever had on the World Cup program and in a new position for me. Not knowing how I was going to do, with these new things made me a bit nervous for the first time in a TT. You see for me the TT is not a nervous race, there are no other riders to worry about, taking a bad corner, cutting you off or sprinting off from you towards the line. It is a pure form of how fast you can do the course against the clock. Can you mentally push yourself past your limit and give it 120%? And I love it!!
I knew the distance was not a problem mentally for me, but the question was could I stay in the position for most of the race (except the technical section). This was an unknown. But as the commissaire started the 5 second count down I knew that it was just about giving it all that I had and to stay focused on what I had to do. I must say that the pain on the last leg was probably the worst I’ve experienced, trying to suck in enough air to just push myself to that finish line. In the end it was a fantastic race and I had won by 40 seconds. But I did learn through that race that in hind sight I could have probably pushed a bit harder early in the TT and that all pain does go away once you finish!
The Road Race two days later was the best race that Jill Walsh (USA) and I have ever had. We finally worked together to get away from the bunch, then worked harder to be in a two person breakaway with only about 3km to go. In the past we have always played games as to who could stay on the back of who longer but this race came down to tactics on the last 1km. Tactics which I am unhappy to say that I messed up by trying to out sprint her too early. Thinking that I could come from behind her, cross the road to the other side, break that rope between us to then ride away, at the 600m mark was a bit much. She came after me and with 100m to go we were side by side but I then had nothing left and she got me at the line.
So a lot of lessons were learned Saturday…especially…don’t go too soon! But at the end I gave Jill a hug, congratulated and thanked her for a fabulous race. I was reminded the other day by a friend that the choices we make bring us to this moment in time. I may have not made the right choice to go early but you have to trust the choices you make because you are willing to accept the risk, not because it’s safe or certain. I am happy with my Silver medal, however next time we meet I am hoping to go one better with the lessons I have learnt!
This whole month has been one of amazing training, learning, friendship and racing. My first week in Nice, France was incredible meeting some amazing people living with MS and gaining some wonderful new friends. Then spending time with Ulrike & Hans-Peter Durst in Dortmund,Germany training, visiting with their family and friends. Then spending a great 11 days with the best team in the world at the World Cup, the Australian Para Cycling Team, how can I not be grateful for the life I lead?
I am grateful for the fact that I am able to experience new countries and cultures. I am grateful that I have a husband that is supportive to let me experience these wonderful adventures and I am grateful that 20 years ago I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis because without it none of this past month would have ever happened. I am so grateful for everything that I have in my life!
As I sit here on this plane jetting my way home I realise that now is the time to take the wisdom I have gained and put it into practice with my training for the next part of my life journey when I head back over to Europe to race again in July.
I will just leave you with this quote that I feel really embodies how I am living – “Learn to be thankful for what you already have, while you pursue all that you want” ~ Jim Rohn