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!


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