Monday, 23 November 2015

Making the process #AWESOME


A little belated but rest assured this is an upbeat one! The past 4 months have been somewhat of a welcomed whirlwind since my last rather “woe is me” post. Rewind to July, I reluctantly headed off over the pond into the only too familiar unknown. With a recently diagnosed artery condition and off the back of a chronic suck I was so sure I was done with cycling. Madre Grant words of wisdom were to take the bike, but why not just hop on a greyhound bus?! I felt like I was going to let giving up set the tone for the rest of my life.

A change of scene was good for morale. Whilst I felt awful on the bike I didn’t really care, I was enjoying being in Colorado. On a scale of get up and go, Boulder is at the opposite end of the continuum to England (/Belgium/Holland (no offence)). A lot less energy is required to get out the door and on your bike.

I did a couple of races including the Tour of Utah. I focused everything on my left quad, the only part of my leg with normal sensation. I went on to the Pro Challenge, racing at 10,000+ft. Although my legs were so numb it wasn’t the shocker I was expecting. It showed me I had mental reserve I hadn’t tapped into before. At this point I realised that I was racing better purely because my expectations could not be any lower.  For the first time in my sporting career it hit me that my self-worth was no longer determined by how hard I could push on my pedals. I returned to the Boulder bubble and started to scheme up a post racing plan that would allow me to live in Colorado. I was adamant I wouldn't have the artery surgery. 

Pro Challenge was incredible, people want to see women's racing!

Thinking spot on top of Flagstaff mountain
Whilst in Boulder I was recommended a very good physio, I hoped she may be able to help me manage the symptoms a bit better. It transpired that I had been riding 2 different crank lengths (!!) twisting my pelvis and impinging my right artery more than my left.  In addition two old running stress fractures to my lumbar spine were affecting the nerves to my legs (amidst a plethora of other biomechanical dysfunction and concussion related probs). She worked wonders in just a couple of sessions. I headed to Missouri to guest for Colavita and was racing with a lot less numbness and my glutes (my trusty powerhouse) were back! I managed to make the break on the third day and round out the podium. I was then invited to ride the final block of racing in Boston with Colavita. I was excited at the prospect of having two pins! My team mates made the race aggressive which allowed me to time my move when the going was tough. I solo’d away for the win and needed quite a bit of pinching!

Trying to conjure up some fasttwitchers for a downhill drag race to the line at Gateway Cup


A bit of a pants post up in Boston

I have always wanted to hold a gigantic cheque!
I made the decision to postpone my flight home and stay out in Boulder to carry on having physio. The season was over but it felt like it was just getting going. I carried on riding but what I call lifestyle training to make the physio treatment more productive. I kept the momentum going and had the best time ticking off my Colorado bucket list with some cool adventures. At this point in the year not many riders in Boulder were keen for epic 6 hour rides in the mountains which gave me a lot thinking time. One thing resonated with me strongly. If I was going to commit to ~5 years pursing my dreams in this sport the process had to be #AWESOME (in true American spirit). If cycling makes you miserable what is the point? Go get an ordinary job.  This was huge shift in mindset after 5 years of unsustainable intensity and expectation. Some may argue that an identity defined by physical prowess is needed to be truly gritty competitor. Perhaps this serves as an additional driving force when failure becomes defining? Nonetheless my goal is to make the process of fulfilling my potential an amazing journey. My ego has no shame in accepting that I broke myself, but I don’t regret taking myself there.

Moab, Utah- a big check off my bucket list
Making my mtbing comfort zone a little bit bigger in Moab...



Lots of fun times shared with the amazing Jen Reither!!


Elk in the Rocky Mts National Park




Camping in the wilderness

I left the states with a pro contract and a new lease of life. I met so many inspiring people. I am so grateful, so many people had such a positive impact during an impressionable time. It was a blast. I spent 3 short but sweet weeks at home catching up with friends and fam before jetting off down under for a kiwi summer. I am finally sitting down with my laptop after what has been a mad and surreal 4 months. My sister and I have just spent a week seeing family and friends in the north island. Currently heading south on the interislander where I will set up camp in beautiful Nelson until team camp in the NY. Whilst the objective evidence of endofibrosis is still on my mind I am managing the symptoms ok. I am really optimistic heading into the 2016 season with Colavita. Ciao for now, thanks for reading!

(Photo credit to Darrell Parks and Scott Kingsley)
My sis is pretty cool
Enjoying some A to B base training and ending up in spots like this

One way to kick the jetlag tramping the Tongoriro crossing

Trip down memory lane at Grandad's bach












2 comments:

  1. Great to see you are on the mend... hope the improvements continue and you have a great competitive year.

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