Below is a post I wrote when I was returning to France after a weekend back in England. It was the weekend of these insta photos. Anyway I will deal with the events behind this post another day. All I can say is that this is acutely relevant given I am recovering after a particularly nasty crash. This, too, will be given its own air time at a later date. For now, I think my thoughts from before are as applicable now as they were then, and I hope they motivate you if you are also facing some tough hurdles.
Today was a hard day, with bitter pills to swallow. However, I am going to endeavor to look at the positives;
My friend and cycling mentor, Nigel
This top bloke, who I will reference again and again, put a roof above my head over the weekend and looked after me. He and his wife (Sally) showed the utmost hospitality in feeding me ridiculously good food, leaving me to my own devices in the house, giving me free reign to the fridge, letting me borrow one of his bikes, providing a supremely comfortable bed and getting up super early to provide me breakfast as I bolted out the door to meet my pal, Barney.
Barney – one day I hope to call rival
Barney is a top class racer and a bloke I have only been lucky enough to know for a short time. Whilst I only seem to irritate the poor lad by making mistakes on the crit circuit, he always offers advice and calmly explains where I am making mistakes. I’m not sure why I deserve this but it just goes to show what a quality chap he is. Not only that, but he was up at 7am for me to come and collect one of his bikes so that I could race it that evening. A box of nice French wine will be making its way to him and his wife (who is a world class iron-woman).
TC – my awesome coach
After meeting Barney I settled down in Dynamo Café in Putney. A harbor for all cyclists, it’s a great location to relax and enjoy great coffee surrounded by cycling paraphernalia. My sensei, TC, extricated herself from her comfy abode and met me for a cup of cha. I love meeting up with TC. We talk utter nonsense at each other and I don’t think we ever finish a sentence on the same topic we started on. Tangents thrive around us and it’s just so awesome. She’s such a well of positivity that I’m always inspired to better myself next time I am out on the bike. Actually, it extends to wanting to just improve full stop. She got me to read the ‘Chimp Paradox’ and it’s made such an improvement on my way of dealing with things. She is fair, insightful and has so much knowledge that we could literally talk forever. She also seems to always buy the coffee, so she is awesome.
I message Ana that TC had started giving me yoga sessions to add to my training. She came back saying she would buy the incense. That she is so on my wavelength and makes me laugh is testament to why she is the person I love most on this planet.
I won my race
I was in London using up my friends’ valuable time so that I could attend a race that was part of a TV competition. I had passed the first round and now had to race against 14 other lads. I won. I did everything perfectly and executed the plan TC had laid out. Though to be fair, it just reinforced that I need to come to terms with fact I am a sprinter, not the climber I so romantically envision.
I didn’t make it through to the next stage, but I had positive feedback
I did something I never do and actually stood my ground and asked where I had gone wrong. I had won my race, won another as part of a team time trial, but wasn’t deemed appropriate to progress to the next stage. This hurt. A lot. But the feedback was a cloud with many silver linings, and I will actively seek to pursue those instead of brooding on the ifs, buts and maybes.
She left me an awesome voicemail that I’ve saved and drew a lot of strength from. It’s amazing.
He proactively messaged to see how I had done. His remarks on the bad news only served to make me want to work harder to achieve my dream.
Ana, always, always by my side
I don’t deserve someone so stalwart and supportive but her level of understanding is unparalleled. She knows when to say something but equally when not to. My bad news she took in her stride and I just cannot wait to see her upon my return to France.
I had a FiveGuys
That’s pretty self-explanatory.
The airport is basically empty, but someone gave me a biscuit
It’s weird being in an airport when no one is around. Unless you count the armed police sitting in Starbucks. Such an odd sight. Anyway I ordered a coffee so I could stay awake long enough to write this (I have been up since 4.45am, done 2 races and a long ride back to London, travelled to the airport at 12pm for a flight at 6am…) and noticed there was a pack of biscuits sitting behind the girl making my coffee. I asked if they were hers and she said they were; they were for her Birthday! Poor lass is up at 1am working on her Birthday. Then she offered me one! It’s a small gesture, but carried a lot of weight. It reminded me that people are good, the world does not have a vendetta against me and that I should continue to believe in the power of kindness and decency.
Pursue your dreams, folks: even if you get turned down, flip it to look at the positives and just how lucky you are. It opens more doors and closes the ones from whence the baddies come.