Another goal checked off. 2016 Lifecycle Classic 40km Mini Classic CQ D Grade.
This event is my clubs annual road race, and they have kindly made the traditional 80km a 40km. To summarise…Our combined C/D started off in two lines of rolling turns until we reached the highway, friendly banter, a chill in the air, pretty country side. I was in the lead group as we crossed the dam wall. A C grade rider jumped after the wall on the climb. I went. Slightly too slow…so she got ahead. But I dug in and dropped the three girls that tried to go with us, 22 kms into the race. I looked back only two times until I reached the turn. I had a good gap. The C grade rider stayed the exact distance in front of me, right behind the lead car. I buried myself deep into ITT but I could not close the gap. On the last 10km I was hurting so bad I talked out aloud. Yelled even. If the three girls working together got me I’d lose my chance. So I had to go so hard I actually bled. Poor lady bits. I had to maintain 30 at least. I am glad I did because they averaged the same in a team of 3 as I did solo. The last 10 I did not look back. It was the most pain I’ve ever experienced, both physically and mentally. There was nowhere to hide. No-one to draft off.
The last 3 years I have spent rehabilitating my body from a bicycle accident. I have permanent nerve damage in my left arm. This has affected parts of my body that are normally healthy. There are days I find myself crying in the midst of a session at my gym. Grieving the loss of my former self. But there are also days that I say to myself: Be thankful you are alive! You can DO THIS!
Recently a dear young friend of mine posted a very personal message about herself on a social media forum. She suffers from depression and anxiety. I respect her on so many levels for her courage. From this I have learn’t that opening up your inner self can bring relief from a lonely world you feel tethered too. Which brings me to this point today. Only my closest friends know my story. At 40 I woke up in the ER corridor of the RWCH. I had no idea how I got there. I did, however, know why I got there. I was an alcoholic. I lost my mother in 1998, the year my first child was born. I used alcohol as my bandaid. Also at around this time I found out I had SVT. I had corrective surgery which unfortunately resulted in an error by the cardio surgeon. I bled from my Femoral Artery into my leg for a week until it was noticed by my GP. During this time I could not work, for months. Nor could I walk very well. It created a lot of grief for me. I needed more bandaids. It crept up on me slowly. Finally raring it’s ugliness shortly after my 40th birthday. As I lay in my bed at the hospital I had to make a hard decision. It was time to stop being selfish. Time to let go of the things out of my control. From that day forward I quit. Its been 9 years now. I have never looked back.
I knew I had to do something to replace my addiction. My brother encouraged me to ride a bike. I started off on a mountain bike, rolling around parts of Queensland with my dad. I progressed to a road bike, finding the joy of both social and road racing. Which brings me to now.
This year I declared ‘My Year’. The year I will turn a half century. I have no team. I zipped on my Club Kit and made some plans. I mix both road riding and the gym together. I have it almost tweaked! I don’t have a coach but I do have friends and my family. They are my team. Top of the check list: Lifecycle Classic Mini 40km.
Next: Mardi Bartlett Classic 54km Road Race. And final: State Team Time Trail WMAS5. This complete’s ‘My Year’.
From this post I know it will open up wounds for some. And it may change your view of me. I know that some will feel sorry for me and some will avoid me. That’s okay. That’s your story not mine. My story is only shared by way of showing others that we are not perfect and we are all damaged in some way. Life can be a facade. Don’t make up stories about people you know nothing about. When you have a win in life celebrate it! You don’t need to feel shy about it. Embrace the moment and relish in it. The support your friends and family offer is imperative to your well-being.
The gold star earring’s are a gift from a special girlfriend of mine. Always cherished. The wedding band is my mums, and the sticker came out of a book my husband bought me on Self Love. These guided me to the finish line of my race.
The people you meet in your life can either make you flourish or make you wilt. Chose them wisely. Be courageous. And don’t be ashamed for the bad choices you make. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Love yourself.