Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Little Victories

So last week while the rest of the team was ripping it up in Europe at the Internationale Thüringen Rundfahrt der Frauen I managed to keep myself busy on this side of the Atlantic. My days consisted of being a Tour superfan in the morning and acting as a landscaping foreman for my husband and his friends in the afternoon as we put a patio into our backyard. But first, let me back up for a minute to explain why I’m at home here in Canada instead of battling it out in the small streets of Europe.

Quite simply put: This has not be the season that dreams are made of (unless your dreams are drastically different from my own). Let’s rewind about 4 months ago to the middle of March when 2011 held infinite possibilities for my cycling career. I was coming off a fantastic winter training base of the trainer and Nordic skiing (a new combo for my new home in Gatineau, Quebec). My fitness was great and I was looking forward to an extraordinary team camp in San Diego with a great group of people who I am lucky enough to call my team! Unfortunately it was not written in the stars (despite my love of Tinie Tempah) for me, as after only 1 hour of great team riding at camp, I took a header off my bicycle at 50km/h that resulted in a separated shoulder, copious amounts of roadrash and a fairly serious concussion. I didn’t understand the repercussions at the time, but today, I’m still recovering from that violent meeting with the ground and my season was over before it really started.

Over the last few months, I have found myself identifying greatly with Sidney Crosby (if you’re Canadian or a hockey fan) as well as more recently with Jani Brajkovi, Tom Boonen and Chris Horner (if you’re more of a Tour junkie, like yours truly). Luckily of late, I seem to have turned a corner. Little as it may be, I have stopped having headaches in the last month and I’m starting to live more like a “normal” person. I’m not back on my bike yet and I still have a number of contraindications – but I’m hoping to be there in the next month or so as to mount my cyclocross assault. Each day is a test of my ability to balance the activity I think I should be able to handle with the rest I know I need and the consequences are rather unpleasant if I misjudge what I am capable of accomplishing. I’m learning to be easier on myself and accept that I need more rest than I think I do- a valuable lesson for an elite athlete!

I’m lucky to have had an incredible group of people to support me through the last few months including my husband, cat, family and my team. It’s coming back bit by bit :) and in the meantime, the boys in France have kept my passion for the sport fuelled. I have been a complete SUPERfan of the Tour this year. From watching the scary footage of Chris Horner’s crash to the captivating sprints and fellow Specialized team HTC’s killer leadout for Mark Cavendish to the incredible down to the wire GC fight, this year’s Tour has been the most entertaining Tour I can remember!

But if I’m going to be honest, it’s the sprints that get my blood pumping – quite literally. I have so much respect for the whole HTC leadout team with special props to Mark Renshaw – and I just LOVE watching Cavendish sprint. My heartrate must get up to around 140bpm as they rush towards the line. It’s the best replacement I can think of to being able to do it myself. In the meantime, I’m making great plans for our team for 2012 where I’m dreaming of Juvederm-Specialized replicating the train to deposit Joanie or myself to the line – it’s going to be awesome!

However, for now, I’m concentrating on the small victories. The days when I wake up and I’m ready to tackle the world (or in my case housecleaning) are becoming more common and I look forward to getting back on my bike to train for victory in 2012. I’m not a big fan of the “everything happens for a reason” cliché, but more of the, as my friend Alena puts it “you will learn something from your tribulations” life lesson. I have yet to find an eloquent wording for these past months, but I’m sure in retrospect it will make me a stronger, more tenacious person and athlete. I will take the wisdom gleaned from this year forward – so watch out, 2012 is going to be my year!

You can also check out this post on iamspecialized.com - it's pretty cool company to keep!

Turning a corner

Hiya blog! Long time no see. Sorry about that. If I'm to be 100% honest, it's been hard to post over the last few months as my general attitude has not been as positive as I would have liked and I don't like to put my negativity out there. Reading about someone moping is not fun - so I omitted it.

That having been said, I have had some great experiences over the last little bit. About a month ago I ended up going to England at the last minute - not for the happiest of reasons - my Gran had a stroke, but it was great to go over and see the family and she's doing fab now. I had a fabulous time with my Mum, Gran and Grandad (as well as various other England-based family members) for 10 days. I always love going over to Ruston Parva - it feels like home. Plus it got me away from Ottawa where I contstantly think about getting on my bicycle! :P We went on walks in the countryside, admiring the beautiful poppies, roses and baby livestock. Gorgeous! My Mum also woke up the latent knitter in me by suggesting that we knit a jumper for my cousin Howard's upcoming baby's arrival.

Knitting has proven to be a great passtime for my concussed self. It allows me to be obsessive about something that doesn't require any physical activity or any tremendous amount of mental work. I'm loving it! Which is a bonus as I had a good deal of airline time going from Ruston Parva all the way to Vegas for Becca (my sister)'s stagette in Las Vegas! Yeah baby! It was incredible. Three nights, eight girls and NKOTBSB in Vegas. That's right - you heard me NKOTBSB. Musical obsessions from all three decades of my life. I heart them all.

It all came to an end far too soon, and unfortunately my concussion kept me in bed far too much to be able to do Vegas justice and I was unable to boy band hunt after the show. Sad face.

Luckily there was much television to keep me busy once I got home with the Women's World Cup AND the Tour. There were a number of days where I would wake up, go to the television (via the coffee maker) and watch the Tour from 8am until 11:30, have lunch and watch soccer from noon until four. In fact, I was lucky that I was concussed or else I would have felt incredibly guilty for dedicating so much of my life to the television - but as it was, it was a fantastic recovery! HA! At least that's what I'm sticking to.

Going forward, I have more travels in my future including some more time back in Calgary to get ready for Becca's wedding on August 6th (eeek!!! Exciting!) and then off again to England with Susan (my lovely mother-in-law) to help with some research for her new book and to check out London and visit Ruston Parva again :). All in all some great ways to keep my ming off the bike until the beginning of September when I'm hoping my birthday present will be to get back on the bike! WAHOO! Fingers crossed!!!

As for now, I need to get my hinie off the computer so I can do a little gardening before the impending thunder shower hits. I'm desperatly hoping that this storm Don't Turn Out the Lights - and if you didn't get that NKOTBSB reference - take a listen to their new song - it's fantastic!