Being me.

I have lost some friends this year. I don’t understand how. I feel great sadness about the dissolving of these friendships. One in particular is a childhood friend. It feels like I am grieving. First comes sadness, followed by anger. Then regret.

I have tried to break things down, to better understand what happened and how I can stop this from happening again. I go through phases of hurt and it all becomes too much. I want it resolved, but the feeling I get is blank. Confusion. Frustration.

I read an article written by a woman who was going through something similar. She turned to a friend for help. Her friend told her that is wasn’t about her. That it is not about you and her. That it is about the truth and trusting in what you know to be true for you. The penny dropped for me. My whole life I have only known something was real when I had someone else confirm it for me. By having it confirmed by a friend, mean’t it had to be true. Well thats what I thought. I am a loyal person. Persistent, conscientious and I pride myself in maintaining friendships as best as I can. I have finally learnt how to say no. This wasn’t easy to learn.

I have now given myself permission to step away. I have not done this before. Confidently. Comfortable in the knowledge that it is my choice and that it doesn’t need to be validated by anyone other than myself. I have spent a lot of time trying to understand people. I LOVE people. I wonder why they do the things they do. I try to accept them for who they are, to understand what they are about. I have such a high level of expectation of myself. I place a large amount of pressure on everything I do. I beat myself up for the simplest things. I compare myself to my friends and I battle with this daily. Am I good enough for them? Am I good enough for me?

I am finding out now that it’s me, hurting me. It’s the truth. I know now that some people just aren’t a match. And when I learn this about someone I let them go. I am not putting them down. I am not criticising or judging them. I am simply stepping away and trusting in myself that I have made the right decision. I have made my circle small. My friend explained to me that I am no longer weighed down by the encumbrance of people that I don’t need to feel happy and loved. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life not realising this.

It’s a wonderful thing to find a way to express myself. “Aisha” came to me one day while I was looking out my window at the chickens in my garden. I had an urge to create a character who represented myself. In a positive and thought provoking way. I draw each morning and most days post my illustration and a message on Instagram. It’s so crazy how many people relate to Aisha. Me. Me and You.

Ride with Me

img_5108

Have you sat on your bike and thought to yourself, there is something about this that I like. A LOT. For me, riding is my Freedom Machine. It’s cheap, easy to maintain, can take you anywhere, social, healthy, environmentally friendly, challenging. I started riding my brothers old bike to try to get fit and lose weight. I was 92kg at the time and pretty unhappy with myself. It was heavy and clunky and I was too scared to ride it on the road. I stuck to bike paths and quiet streets. My first ride was with my girlfriend. We rode to Woolcock Park, which is at the back of Ashgrove. Luckily there were no ‘hills’ and a lot of water bubblers! The return trip was around 10km. I arrived home covered in sweat and my heart pounding. But, you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face! I rode that bike everywhere, I even fell off it! There is nothing more embarrassing than crashing into a banana bar! Eventually I got up hills and extended the length of my rides. I couldn’t get enough. My brother bought me a Specialized Myca duel suspension mountain bike, the deal being that I would lose 25kg and stay healthy. I stuck to my end of the bargain, riding as much as I could, and through parts of Queensland with my dad on CQ rides. I did a few Westpac Chopper Charity mountain bike rides on the ‘ol Myca…it is what has made me mentally stronger.  Here, I found the joy of bike riding. Eventually I was lured into the dark side. Along came Beauty, my Avanti Questa road bike. It had to be pink. I didn’t care what the bike did, or how light the carbon fibre was. I still ride this bike today, having had quite a few modifications to fit around my body. A crash in 2013 made a pretty big dent in my body but the bike got away with a scratch on the gear hoods. I ride it and race it. It’s my companion and I trust her.

I look around at all the bikes out there. My eyes pop out at a few, I’d do anything to get a newer and improved bike! But for now, it’s Beauty and I. I think that it’s the machine on top that you need to improve, not the bike. Although, the wheels and gearing can assist if you are interested in racing and hill climbing! Yesterday on my group ride I heard a lady say “I’m not a very good rider.” It echoed in my head for most of my day. I was at the back of the group (this is my safe zone) and I watched her and when I could, ride behind her. She was a fabulous rider! If she were to ask me, “Caroline, how do you think I can improve?”, I’d give her a few tips that were passed on to me. In the case of group riding there are many thoughts to this. But in her example, if you want to finish your ride strong, then it’s like racing. Its all about positioning and efforts. I am not a coach, I have been coached, by a very good one. She taught me that I had to find my strengths and to use these as my weapon. In my friends instance, she spent a lot of time out the front, pushing in long and fast efforts with the leaders. Three quarters into the ride she was still in that position, the group wasn’t doing much in the way of rolling turns. She started to fatigue. She came to the hills and blew up. She was dropped. So in her mind, she is telling herself “I’m not a good rider.” She is in need of learning the strategies of how not to be dropped and finish with the group. I have provided a link on this subject (below). I have also provided a link to a great read on Bunch Riding.

Another important part of bunch riding, is finding a group that fits you. If you are a woman, and it is mostly a male dominated bunch, then this isn’t a group for you. You need a group that nurtures you in at an average that is around 25 or so. We are built and communicate differently. Sure, some women will read this statement and disagree with me, but position yourself back the very first days when you started off and think again about this statement. If you are a strong and progressing rider then riding with men is the key. Also, riding with people who are better and more experienced than you will make significant improvements to your confidence and abilities. If you can work it into your budget, get a Coach or mentor. These people know their stuff. Technique is everything…but also is the connectivity between teacher and student. I you need a Coach I can recommend a very good one to you. I am working on a list of rides suitable to new to bunch riders. Contact me for further information.

By saying “I’m not a good rider, I am too slow, I won’t keep up, go without me” will make you this person. We all have to start off somewhere. Find people who will take you out and help you gain your confidence. Build. Build up slowly and find a group that you can ride with. It may take several groups before you find your fit. You will be dropped! But know the route and finish your ride. Keep going back to that group. You will be dropped a hundred times! Your level of fitness will improve. With fitness you will not be dropped. This applies to both group riding and racing.

Remember the reason why you started riding. Keep that feeling. I hope this guides you.

My mantra: YOU GOTTA WANT IT.

cycling-etiquette

http://www.bicycling.com/training/tips/the-five-stages-of-getting-dropped

 

 

Little gold stars and my mothers wedding ring

Beauty Top Tube

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.

LC Classic 2016 Mini Results

IMG_2920

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.

How I stepped out of my comfort zone

This gallery contains 20 photos.

“Thank you for your application for the recently advertised position of Graphic Designer. Unfortunately on this occasion your application was not successful. We wish you all the best with your future career.” Losing two friends and my job has mean’t losing a … Continue reading

Driving Miss Daisy

medicalcheck

Hi Caroline, take a seat. So how can I help you today?

I’d like you to assess me for my Medical Certificate for Motor Vehicle Driver. I’m going to be a cabbie.

Jeese…that came out weird. I never thought I’d be a cabbie. Driving drunk people around late at night, sweat, garlic breath and vomit. Or suits who want the fast and quick cut to the airport to catch a flight ‘to a conference’.

So, Caroline, can you please do a urine sample? Off I pop to the loo, walking through the middle of the waiting room, people looking at me funny, carrying my little jar. Seriously, I’m an athlete being drug tested! Squatting over the loo I delicately aim into the little plastic jar, wondering, exactly how much do I put in there? A trickle or a stream? I look down at the cloudy liquid. YUK. I empty it into the loo and proceed to fill it up, feeling very satisfied by my ability to control my bladder so well. Which reminds me I need to do more pelvic floor work.

So I trot back into the Doctors room for which he pops in a litmus paper. I look at the colours processing, nervously. He kindly tells me I do not have protein or glucose in my wee and that I am not Diabetic. *PHEW*

Running down the list he stops at “Any psychological history?” I blurt out NO! I’m normal! Damn. I wonder if they actually check that stuff out? I do see a shrink, and on a Ten Pass Medical discount card. But he didn’t ask “Are you a lier?” so as my friend says, that’s his fault!

Do you consume alcohol? No. He pauses. Looks at me. Ticks the ‘NO’ box. Well that was awkward.

Now stand over here and look at this eye chart. Are you Fcuking kidding me? That’s not a normal eye chart. That’s an eye chart for a child! Place your hand over your right eye. Now read this line. I get my focus. At this point my forehead was building up some sweat. I very slowly say the letter as he runs his finger across the line. Put your hand on your other eye. Now this line. Again. I repeat the process. I really am blind. But he assures me I got these right. Okay, now stand on one foot and close your eyes. WTF?! That’s easy! I do it. I wobble. OMG I really do need to work on my core. At this point I was sure I was going to fail.

He kindly offers me a seat. Now, do you have any history of heart disorder? HOLY MOTHER OF GOD. I had SVT. So he says, what did you do about it? I told him I had an oblation to the node and that my heart is as good as apples, only every now and again it goes into the Extreme Suffer score on my Strava upload. He stared at me blankly, ticking a box. And the result? Well actually, besides the surgeon screwing it up and making my femoral artery bleed into my leg, the outcome was relatively pleasing!

Moving onto the next question. Okay, what other surgeries besides this did you have? Well that was a day surgery so really that surely cannot be counted as a proper surgery which involves knives? Poker face…okay so yes I have had a bit of surgery on my arm. I dislocated, tore my rotator cuff and ripped a bit of bone of my humorous. Oh, and have permanent nerve damage which makes me deltoid-less. FARK! He was looking at me funny now. How many surgeries on this arm? Two I reply. Can I see your arm? I present him with it and say, hey totally rad scar don’t you think? Yes, that is a decent one! Do you have an automatic car or a manual, he asked? OMG. Okay. So I have a manual car. Pause. So it’s for the benefit of my arm so it doesn’t get lazy? He pulls a smile. Okay so I think I got him.

My heart rate was perfectly normal. Winning! Off I go to pay. The receptionist kindy asks for $150. I gasp! Is there a Medicare rebate? I’m unemployed! No, I’m sorry there isn’t…I pause…I draw my hand into my wallet…she says, just a moment…she is on the phone. The Dr said $100 will be okay. I was gob smacked! I showed her my appreciation and was on my way to the transport department for Lodgement of an Industry Authority Application. Number D332! Counter 2!

 

Ain’t no mountain high enough

I have this thing about doing something that I fear. It’s like a drug. I want it. The way it makes my palms sweat and my heart skip a beat. Will I? Can I? Should I?

IMG_0024

I am not a small person. I joke about my spare tyres I carry around my waist. I dislike it! I’ve always had big thighs. I figured, I’d put them to good use. I know I hold power in their muscle.

Since climbing mountains I’ve discovered this: I’m a great short, sharp climber. If I get my gearing right, I can burst up a hill with speed and roll over the top and hammer the descent. This kind of hill is my favourite. I use the body type I have to achieve this. When I hit a long steep climb I go slower than a snail. GIMME MORE GEARS! I grind up, I don’t look at the top for fear of falling. I tell myself, it’s flat if you look at it at the right angle. I find myself with Tourettes. Since having received new wheels I roll faster, which means I can reserve. This helps me to recover.

This year I participated in the Buderim9 Challenge. I made 7 out of the 9 climbs. 57.8km, 1,233m, 2:41:43 moving time. The day, prior, I drove the course. I was pretty shocked with what lay ahead of me. I couldn’t turn back. I decided I’d do at least 5. Having set that goal, I pushed beyond to make the 7.

In the build up I rode weekly Coot-tha’s, Nebo, Binna Burra, O’Reilly’s and the 2015 Ride for Westpac Chopper MTB Mudgee to Tamworth challenge. These rides made me stronger both physically and mentally.

Another discovery. You have to find your ‘inner animal’. You cannot do anything without it! I’ve tried to explain it to a friend. I don’t think she gets it, just yet. I visualise my greatest fear. That thing that gets you fired up. I use it as my fuel. When I have it engaged I find myself in that moment. If you can find that moment then you know you have put in 100%. You’ve emptied your tank.

IMG_9826

This photo captures everything. I look beyond the shape of my body…my left shoulder. Instead, I visualise the things that I know I can do. I use the pain as fuel to propel myself into the future space I have created.

I am on a mission to climb as many mountains as I can in 2016, with the goal of a Peaks challenge on 2017. I have mapped out my year to include both type 1 and 2 fun, with a new edition, type 3 fun. This I learnt from my friend. Type 1 Fun: Pure fun. Type 2 Fun: Post-fun. But, my new found discovery is: Type 3 Fun: Storytelling Fun. This experience is definitely not fun in the moment and really isn’t personally fun for you to reflect on. You probably still cringe looking back on what happened, whether it was embarrassing for you or just terrifying. But, it makes a good story and that brings a new positive memory to the experience. Watch out for my blogs!

I have watched and learned. I have failed, lost, been dropped, won, come last, succeeded, cried, laughed, yelled, sworn, giggled, sweated, had tantrums, given up, picked up.

IMG_9957

The view at the top is worth the pain of the climb.

Finding Nemo

IMG_7283One thing I don’t like about getting older is my forgetfulness, my body taking longer to recover, my lack of patience, the effort I have to put in to keeping up…difficulties in parenting…and the added voices in my head!

The last few months I have been working on finding the younger version of me as I know I cannot recover my former self. I’m trying not to sweat on the small things. Out riding one day I met this young 13 year old boy on his mountain bike. He was full of beans and charisma. He showed me a wheelie and told me he washed bikes to pay for his bike bling. It reminded me that we all use to feel that way. Full of self confidence and love for life.

IMG_8809I have to remind myself that some of the simple things can be the most rewarding. Like discovering little tracks that you previously passed and never explored. Drinking coffee at little hidden places!

IMG_7199

Riding out the Coach’s Blue Bench, propping up your bike, sitting and eating your banana whilst watching the ships leave the port and the world go by.

IMG_7195

IMG_7224

I love to ride to Nudgee Beach when I am feeling a little low, and visit #thattree. Some days the tide is out and you can see the whole tree in its splendour. Other days, high tide, the water splashes up against the wall and the tree is hiding its trunk. Washed up jellyfish and shells, swallowed up in mud. (photo cred SouthDog)

IMG_8265.jpg

One of the biggest self discoveries was made this year in September, when I joined the Westpac Chopper Charity Mountain Bike Ride…Mudgee to Tamworth (approx. 500kms). I discovered an inner strength I did not know existed. I found my ninja. Every day a challenge was set. Every day I took myself out of my comfort zone. I laughed, cried, swore, and listened to all my inner voices trying to mess with me. I activated my “Don’t give a Fuck” button and just rode. I rode away any negative thoughts. I left them under the bushes at Nundle. But I took away some great lessons. Never let the turkeys get you down (Farside). On this ride we learnt of our travelling friend…gone missing. It was difficult to shut this down for the following days. My husband was at home, assisting the Scottish Police with investigations. She was found dead, having fallen from a cliff. Many things came out of this! You don’t know when your time is up! RIP Lynne.

IMG_8323

Take what you can get! Stop procrastinating and do the thing! What have you got to lose?

IMG_8656

Since that ride, I have checked a few things off from my bucket list. Binna Burra, O’Reilly’s and completion of my first Lifecycle Toowong Orthodontics Women’s Crit Series. I have a passion for HILLS. They make you strong! I have a 75km Buderim9 Challenge 20 December I am training for…I will do this with my brother and two other friends.

IMG_6292

Things I know…Don’t expect things to come easy. You need to have the right attitude. No point in comparing yourself with others. They are on their own mission! Don’t judge. Don’t be jealous. The best training is done ALONE. It makes you resiliant. And you need to get dirty. There are days I have sat on the dirt and cried. I have accepted that I am the person that I am for a reason. I have made friendships. Lost friendships. That’s life. And the people who stick are the ones who not only accept you, but themselves.

IMG_8631

 

Putting things into perspective

Mardi

On Sunday 19 July 2015, at 10:20am, I waited with about 33 female riders, on the side of the road in the small township of Mulgowie Queensland Australia, for the Chief Commissaire to announce the start of the race. A race in honour of a young woman, Mardi Bartlett, who lost her life, doing the thing she loved with a passion…cycling. This was my second road race, a 3-lap 54km course. I felt nervous. Cycling Queensland placed me in C Grade, though I am a D Grade rider. A good friend and mentor, convinced me to go in wide eyed and with the view to learn and have fun. “It’s not the quickest rider that is impressive, but the smartest.”

The ride out was at a safe pace. A tail wind, with moderate rough surface. The fun began at the hairpin turn…straight into a head wind. I got dropped on the second last hill of the first lap. I know why it happened. I had already decided it would the evening before. Lesson 1: Don’t let your negative thoughts win. I was soon in the company of 3 other riders. I rode solo for what seemed like forever. I kept my eye on the group, the band slowly stretched. Soon they were just a speck of dust. I watched them fade into the distance, support cars following. I fought to catch, but I couldn’t get back on. I could see another rider drop. I continued to pedal as hard as I could, in hope of catching her. Eventually I got her! We concocted a plan and so began 2 laps as a team of 2. I have always told myself, that no matter what, I will always finish a race. It’s my number 1 rule. When we got to the finish line for lap 1 my friend and Commissaire shouted “Stay together and keep on riding!”. So that’s exactly what we did. We would do it for Mardi.

When you are out on the open road a lot happens. You need to be aware of your surroundings and be fully alert. Working together is tricky. You have to find a balance and work as a team. I was full of fight and wanted to smash it. I was also feeling hesitant as I didn’t want to put any stress on my partner or come across with a pushy attitude. She was a fighter! Her attitude was outstanding! We talked to each other, to the cows, made jokes about the cabbages and sang! YES! We sang as we rode up the steepest of the hills “Ain’t no mountain high enough!…Ain’t no valley low enough!…” You learn a lot about yourself when you are thrown into the wind. Rather…a wall! I’m pretty sure it was 30 knots! Lesson 2: The art of patience and power of determination. There is no point into going into something half arsed! If you are going to do the thing. DO IT! So rather than wallow in my self pity, I visualised a young woman in my head. Racing and winning and smiling. Being amongst her peers and celebrating her achievements with her parents and family. Too often I worry about the little things, and not the big things. I am lucky to be alive! To be able to ride my bike with friends and share the joy and excitement and thrill of the race as I cross the line!

Rest in Peace Mardi. You are loved.

Fear Face

Today I was invited by my best mate, Speedie, to join him on his Sunday morning Mt Nebo ride. It’s about a 1,000metre climb up one of Brisbanes most beautiful mountains, right at my doorstep. We took off at 5:30am (dark and chilly) picking up a few friends on our way. The slow climb out of The Gap is the steepest part, at which point you wonder why you chose to do this and not be tucked in bed! Not too far up the road I mentioned to Speedie that at sunrise we may expect to see kangaroos. Did I jinx him…because not even 10 minutes later BAM he runs one down! I still cannot believe he stayed on his bike! A miracle he wasn’t hurt badly. We rode very cautiously from this point.

As many know, I’m not a fan of gutters or steep descents. Not for the lack of wanting to descend, as I carry plenty of weight advantage…but as a result of purchasing a bike frame that is too large, combined with a bung shoulder, I have a great deal of difficulty in positioning my body and reach to the brakes. It’s quite normal for me to get cramps in my tricep if I tense, which adds to my delimma. So, today, I decided to focus on my descent rather than my ascent. I simply told my friends to go on ahead as I prefer to be left alone in this situation. I concentrated on my positioning (bum back into the saddle, body tucked into the top tube), taking the lane, and used the brakes by tapping them before the corners and when I felt a little spooked. I have found that using 25mm tyres have assisted me by softening the blow of the road surface, but finding the corners a little more tricky. In time I should be able to adjust to this.

For me, today was tough. I counted down the kilometres until I arrived safely back into The Gap. I’m pretty sure that we all have our own fears when it comes to cycling. A properly fitted new bike will help. Hill coaching will also get me over this hump and into the right head space. One last note: we all need to remember we are someone’s mother or father, wife or husband, and we have a big responsibility to our loved ones. Ride safe.

Winning: 1. gaining, resulting to victory in a contest or competition

“To be a champion, I think you have to see the big picture. It’s not about winning and losing; its about every day hard work and about thriving on a challenge. It’s about embracing the pain that you’ll experience at the end of the race and not being afraid. I think people think too hard and get afraid of a certain challenge.” Summer Sanders

Yesterday was one of my favourite races to date. HPRW Cycling Club ran the first of a three part Nicol Jackson Race series at Elimbah, Queensland Australia. I entered as D but Club Handicapper moved me to C. Challenge accepted. Two years ago I raced this course, got dropped and rode in last. Yesterday I hung on to the lead group and rode in with them sixth. I didn’t make it on the step, but I stepped it up to a new found level. I was advised by my Coach to do several things. I discussed each possibility and locked in a plan. Knowing full well that the best made plans can fail. Failure use to be hard to accept. Now, it is an opportunity to learn. With each race you need to learn in order to progress. This race was about playing. I played with my strengths. I played with my weaknesses. In doing this I discovered the art of tactics. I worked out who was Queen Bee and who were her workers. In under 5kms I knew what was going to go down. At this point I concocted my plan. I switched off any white noise and I took in a lung full of country air and stomped on my pedals. With each pedal stroke I set the wheels in motion.

The course was designed for me. A nice combination of hilly, flat, curvy and straight. Homeward bound it was ON! My threats: Queen Bee was young and light and fast on the flats. She was going to be first. Helper Bee was young and heavy, had endurance but slow on the hills. All of them hit the hills and slowed so this was my opportunity to play. I attacked each hill and dropped them on all three accounts. I let them pass and tucked in behind. I recovered, then pulled a long turn on the front, by way of thanking them for the pain train. At this point (5kms in from finish) I was spent. I made them hurt! It was so much fun! We all got twitchy and the group got messy. I had a word to the newest rider as was keen to see if she could meet Queen Bees match. She gave it a crack! Her smile alone told the story!

Standing on the podium is not even part of my psyche right now. It’s all about the numbers and the lessons. Sixth place is a winning place. And that’s good enough for me.

To view my stats go here:

http://www.strava.com/activities/329027559