Reflection on my year that was 2013

Sounding like a broken record yet again...its been a while since my last blog entry.
Life gets away from me.
Each day is so engaging and the ease of a picture and a quick blurb on Facebook allows me to communicate in a brief moment.
Blogging on the other hand, I find once I start I can't stop.

Perhaps a little like a 24hr race, once the race starts I am on, yet moments before I am unsure, unable to imagine myself riding at 2am tomorrow morning, yet knowing that when I start time will pass and I will live to tell the tale so just immerge myself fully and it will be a good show.
This is pretty much what goes on when I start tapping on my laptop, ideas and thoughts and amazing passion flows from my mind to my fingers which I find hard to stop at just a few paragraphs of a race report.
Writing for me is a download of experience, a time to relate to the reader of my human side, the real Jess that wakes up in the morning, eats breakfast, works hard, rides bikes, races bikes, runs businesses, longs for a holiday and then winds down and goes to bed.

Since I last wrote, the year has passed and I have started to plan my 2014 calendar of racing, skills clinics, work load, business planning and then planning for time to reward myself for goals set and achieved.
2013 sort of flew by a little like this...

As soon as the Forrest Festival was over in December 2013, Norm and I were full on into winding that up and getting onto The Corner Store Mt Buller for summer 13/14.
The entire year had been a series of check boxes that once achieved we were straight onto the next.
I guess it really all started with the Delirium 24hr Road race in Cowaramup in WA back in April, which I achieved a 703km distance and came 2nd overall and first female.
Straight after returning to Forrest to recover for the Ride for the Kids charity ride with the Liv/giant team – 1000km road ride in 5 days from Mansfield to Port Macquarie.

Next was to fly home on the Friday less than 24hrs after finishing the ride, back home to ride the Forrest 6hr in Solo Female.
Great training and no support, just someone throwing me a bottle every now and again and I came 2nd to Peta Mullens.
Not too soon after was some base training over in France with TopBike Tours, riding the “hills of the Tour” for around 7 days. Home for a week and then in the cold of July, a few hard core roadies joined me in our Winter3hundy from Warrnambool to Geelong leaving in the cold and dark and arriving in Geelong in the same. Average temp that day was 10 degrees. Thankfully no rain.

Next weekend was spent indoors for 2 days in Forrest being a participant in the Level1 Mountain bike coaching course where I was brutally hit with the flu and on Sunday night, I hit the hay for 4 days straight feeling the results of the tough few months I had endured.
A bit of a hiccup in the training plans with the next trip overseas to race the Mongolia Mountain bike Challenge. A massive mtb race with big days over 150km for around 7 days in a row.
The plan here was just “ride myself into form”.
Day 1 was the most I had EVER hurt that I could ever remember. The rest probably hurt the same but I felt fitter with each day.
Then bang – final day returning back to Ulanbataar after the race finished I was feeling really seedy. And then I started vomitting and all the rest that comes with food poisoning.

The whole trip home the following 1.5days I barely ate or drank and suffered silently.
Arrived in Melbourne, said goodbye to Norm and flew off to Townsville the next day to hang with friends – get some sunshine and R&R. The plan was that I would be building fitness from Mongolia and add to it on this trip. Yet I did not get any better, just worse and really started to drop weight and totally lose all my energy. Finally went to a doctor and got tests. Salmonella poisoning sorted with anti biotics pronto and within 2 days I was buzzing again. Phew.

Now with 3 weeks until the World Solo 24hr Championships I wondered if I could build on my fitness some without compromising my health. I knew I could but had to take drastic measures.
No emails, just bare minimum workload and lots of rides and a new Lust 27.5 to ride and get to know.
A week out I was feeling great.

At Mt Stromlo in Canberra, in October the 24hr world champs went to plan and I won.
This was awesome of course and now I could finally get on with the next job – plan and execute our annual MTBSkills Mt Buller riding retreat on the Melbourne Cup long weekend for 40 people.
No rest indeed.
We did it, the Mt Buller weekend event was marvelous and all the hard work was worth it...but wait, with only 4 weeks to go until the Forrest Festival and the build up of the summer season for The Corner Store Forrest we were very occupied – yet again.

The Forrest Festival went off awesome – so many people visited Forrest and for the first time I did not race but worked hard with all the staff at the shop giving people what they wanted – good coffee food and bike stuff. It was hectic and the most successful weekend ever!
Ok, a few months have gone by now and there was still not a sign of chilling out and giving myself a bit of celebration for goals achieved.
Forrest Festival done – nek minute I found some time for a fun weekend of racing.

I know its not everyones idea of a restful weekend, but I planned to race the GMBC Gazebo 3hr race on Saturday and then do the Duael 6hr Pairs at Castlemaine with Brodie on the Sunday.
It was the perfect reward for some hard work, next week back to work.

Now we had a deadline that we almost didnt meet, to open up The Corner Store Buller and seemingly amazing stuff happened right at the 11th hour and we were up at Buller setting up shop.
Norm and Brodie stayed up there, I came home to keep things happening in Forrest, pay the bills, love the dogs, feed the chooks and ride my bike.

On Christmas day my choice was to ride 150km to my mums for lunch via the Great Ocean Rd and return the same way. Stress relief at its best.

2013 felt like a lot of knee jerking, not much planning, just doing from one thing to the next to the next.

I have a few goals this year that having nothing to do with winning races, instead they are “Life Goals”, to help keep me grounded and on track. 

  • Remove all fear, instead believe it is possible.

  • Give sincere thanks to those who enter my life.

  • Set Goals, Plan, Execute, Reflect, Reward – often.

  • Love my family more often.

  • Live each day with less focus on me.

  • Continue to teach, continue to provide hope, continue to add value to the world.

  • ...and mostly, I choose not to fight yell argue snap at and feel resentment towards my best friend Norm.

I have entered a few races this year already though, and in the style I chose to its all about the experience.

  • The location, is it inspiring and a place where energy is renewed?

  • The event format, fun challenging and once again inspiring?

  • The challenge, is it something that is feared, revered and to be conquered?

  • The people, energy and inspiration given and received, the vibe.

These are always the main elements that excite me in me signing up for an event.

Here's a quick list so far:

February - MTBA National series at Mt Buller

  • Alpine Assault 160km MTB marathon

March - Bike Buller MTB Festival

April - Giant Otway Odyssey 100km Marathon

October - WEMBO World Solo 24hr MTB championships at Fort William in Scotland.

I will be certain to fill the gaps in with other events as time flows by.
For me, racing, being a sponsored athlete, turning 41, being female, a mum, a business owner and everything else that I do is all about adding value to other peoples lives in some way or another.
The more I employ the concept that ,”Its NOT all about me!”, the easier life flows.

Right now as I type this life's journey takes me on a flight from Melbourne to Auckland.
There are a bunch of girls that I met last year when I went over for a Liv/giant skills/promo with Norm that asked me to come back again. I mean how awesome is that? I get to travel and hang out with enthusiastic energetic mountain biking chicks, give them some of me and in return I get a huge amount of goodness back just because thats how it is!

Yep it takes effort, it takes planning and often the execution is the most testing. But once you just jump in and let it consume you, man its so easy.
I am so grateful for my life, the way it keeps evolving and changing with opportunites at every turn.

After this fun weekend thats about to happen, I have made a promise to myself to reflect on my year that was 2013, take the time to enjoy what I have achieved, acknowledge those who have been there on the path with me and really take a deep breath, a big smile and give us all a big pat on the back.