Failing helps you work out what your next step should be

481269 10151327282571003 1379357963 n 1I have always used the annual Otway (now Kona) Odyssey as my gauge to see where my form is at every year.
This year was my 7th time in doing the 100km MTB Marathon event.

However this time was a tad different. 
Numerous events had taken place in the last year leaving me with some altered perspective on what was priority and what would just have to make do.

Norm and I were delightfully exhausted from running The Corner Store in Forrest which opened on 1st November in 2012.  Training was sporadic and we were also still running MTBSkills in all corners of Australia. 
I can honestly say I would not have it any other way, it just left me a bit depleted on the training front and a few kilos too heavy to manage a good day in the saddle for 100km race and a decent result.

I spent the weeks leading up getting last minute training and even took the eventual winner, Renata, out for some rides too.  She did teach me that we do Live The Dream...and she is right!
Feeling slow on the climbs but unbeatable in the single track, I already knew this race could not be won on single track finesse alone.  So much climbing on rideable open 4wd tracks and dirt roads left me open and vulnerable to boredom and showed up my lack of form on the long hills.

When race day came, my lead up was a tad stressful with lots to do in the shop, staff to manage, visitors staying at our house, my bike to tweak for race day, last minute fitness, and as always a load of emails and last minute requests.  
I even spent many appointments at massage, acupunture, chinese medicine and bowen therapy to ease my stress and anxiety.  Not eating properly, not sleeping well, feeling really really unsettled and anxious.  I think deep down I knew what everyone expected of me, but I knew I could in no way deliver that result.

Last year coming 2nd to Peta, I have no real idea how I was in such awesome form, but I was.  It may have something to do with my year off 24hr racing and doing a tonne of stage racing and a winter of road, but whatever the case I was in form.

Fast forward to Feb 16th 2013, I was on the start line ready to just enter my race, lets just get started and see what transpires.
Up until the sandy section, I was doing well, and then bang - everyone was off with legs that I did not have.  Took me at least the next 15 minutes to ease back into the race.  Thankfully the moto track that is technical and overgrown was not too soon into the race and this gave me a chance to move away from the 2nd teir contenders.  The selection of what was to be 1st - 4th place was already moving on steadily ahead of us.  It was around the time of reaching 35km at the Aquaduct that Chris Jongerwaard caught me, and about 4 minutes later the next group blew through.

Forrest recreation reserve was looming, time for a coke, drink bottle change and some single track flow.  It was here that I made some ground and started to see Melissa Anset on the trail but I suspect she saw me and put in some good ones and pulled away.  Coming out of the Yaugher trails I was already scared of the climbing coming up.  Out I went in 6th place, trying to stay positive and bang - cramps in both legs as I tried to power up the climb, instead had to spin lightly and watch people slowly pass.  It was here that I could do nothing other than to keep pedalling from pulling out and quitting.
I just knew though that if I quit what on earth would I feel like today even typing this story?  I wouldnt be able to live with myself knowing that one pedal stroke after another would allow me to finish if I let my mind shut up its negative talk.  

After losing multiple places I finally reached trails 4, 5 & 6 and really got my mojo back, about 1hr too late, but none the less I passed people and felt good about riding, felt good about being in the race still regardless of my overall position.

I came in so very happy with myself for not quitting but silently devastated at how much it hurts to not have my form on.

Now I have been here before - it seems I dont mind suffering for the sake of working hard and being broken to become whole again.

Having bad days - bad races - bad months - bad years...its all about that inner search on what it is that is important to you.
I know and did realise that I love racing my bike, even though I am busy running businesses.
So how do you do it? How do you become a contender, and be a entrepeneurial business person at the same time?  YOU JUST DO IT!  No Nike ad here, but you cant talk about it you must act it out - daily.
I was too busy saying I wish I could, when I just SHOULD of, instead of could of would of but didnt.

And so now, having had that arrow go through my heart, I am on the road back to a better and stronger Jess Douglas.  One that can juggle work life balance, one that can just go with the flow and let it go.  One that has big goals this year to achieve great things.  

So 2 weekends ago I was off to Bright Bootcamp - 4 days of solid hill rides in the Victorian Alps with Cycling Inform and on the road.
Now I have been at Mt Buller for 4 days with 6 days to go, riding, training and racing.
Then I am off to the Avoca Marathon on the 17th March, a race that so does not suit me but will make me stronger.
After that I might just do the Crazy 6hr enduro and then off to Rotorua for 5 days.  
Much fun to have, but its all part of the grand plan to get fit and fast for April 21st when I will be racing 24hrs solo at the Delirium 24hr Road race in W.A.  
...and thats only April, we have May, June, July, Aug, Sept and then the World solo 24hr MTB champs again in October at Stromlo.  I have lots to achieve!

...Oh yeah forgot to mention...I turned 40 in even better reason to be bold, dream big...and really make awesome things happen.

Thanks for your support always, Giant, Fox, Tekin, Jet Black, Bike Box, Shimano & my best friend Norm Douglas.