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Success is never as easy as it may seem. - Chapter 4

31 May 2012

jess-podium 

With daylight comes renewed energy & excitement that the race is coming to a close.

I still find it hard to believe that I just kept pedaling and here I am...nearly 20 hours later still riding.

I always say to myself and openly share the simplicity of this thought: “A day will pass regardless of how you manage it, the sun sets and rises with no thought about us and our actions. How we use this day is up to us so use it with NO regrets, savour every moment and be present in the moment. Use this day well for it is a blessing!”

 

At 5:00am I was praying for daylight, I could see the hint of sunshine on the horizon, but it was still dark. Hoping that when I came in for my next transition that I would be able to take off the lights and enter the freedom of seeing with my own eyes.

If my memory is correct I came in from the lap at around 5:30am and I still needed lights – damn!

I was also trying to work out how many more laps I really had to do to win??

As I said in my previous chapter, the devil sometimes visits more than once in a race and this time my alter ego she devil wasn't leaving my side.

She was looking for any opportunity to get me from doing another lap.

Her nagging comments were doing me in and I was finding it harder and harder to search my mind and heart for the happy places that keep me going. I started to talk aloud so I could hear myself over her ranting.

I wanted to do 3 more laps then I told Norm and Sarah that I would stop for breakfast and work out the plan from there. So my deal was to myself, do 3 more laps, then you can work out the rest of the race from there.

I was no longer racing my opponents I was racing myself.

When I got those 3 laps done I told Norm and Sarah that I did not want to stop for anything now, I may as well just keep riding. Lets see how I am travelling next lap. On the next lap I knew I would have to do it all over again, so no whinging, no procrastinating, just do.

My last 2 laps were done with a smile, I was happy now, I could see the light at the end now and knew that I would be a World champ so long as I kept riding at this pace and kept myself from having a crash or a mechanical.

 

As I was completing my 2nd last lap that knee niggle came back and this time no drugs were doing to help the pain. So I just got on with it. The power in my right leg was pretty much gone and initially it scared me a bit, right now at the 11th hour could I lose this race based on a knee problem?

I caught up to Sylvia from Germany who was also on her last lap, I told her to stay in front as I could not climb all the pinches, she was in the same situation. I realised when we got to a place on the trail that I could climb, it was just pain, and that if I put more effort into my left pedal stroke whilst pulling on my left upper body on the handlebars in a slightly harder gear I could basically get my right to just roll over into the next revolution with minimal pain but same output as far as speed etc...

I thought to myself that there were heaps of one legged cyclists out there that I have seen at races and events and even with a prosthesis their power output would be less on that side, and they dont have any problem getting from A to B. It was just the impetus that I needed to get my butt into gear and I challenged myself on every climb. I was having fun now with this game and all of a sudden I knew I was coming in to win this race.

 

Its always an amazing feeling to get to this point in a race and its all over so quick.

I always want to savour it but get it over with equally.

If there are any mothers out there reading this, you may understand what I mean with regards to childbirth. My labour was around 36hrs long and within moments of giving birth to my daughter I found it hard to recapture moments of the process and my understanding of timelines was gone too.

Its the same with 24hr racing, you know you were and are in pain, you know that it was awesome and a totally amazing experience however its so confusing to try and recollect moments.

When I came into transition before going through the finish line, I stopped at our pit and got the Australian flag from Norm and rode on into the finish.

 

It was over! I had won and I could relax now. I could enjoy my holiday in Italy. I could sleep. I could start recovering. I was thinking of all the great things I could do now that I was no longer chained to my bike.

Before I could do this, there were interviews to do with the media, the race organisers, photos to be had, hugs and kisses, congrats to everyone and from everyone.

Seriously all I want when I finish one of these races is a hospital bed, some heavy drugs, maybe an induced coma, and someone to shower me and perhaps a drip to rehydrate and refuel the body as I rest. Its not that the after effects of the race are that horrible, its just that you are tired and everything starts to hurt a few hours after the finish.

But its far from that, after all the excitement of finishing and winning there is reality.

Shuffled off to do a drug test, I was talking like a sleep deprived 24hr racer to the lady about to watch me pee. Oh it stung but sample done, invasion of privacy ticked (more child birthing parallels!)

First priority is to get out of my gear, have a shower and take some anti inflammatory drugs.

My knees especially my right were fat and puffy with fluid aimed to protect the joints and ligaments. This was the sorest part of my entire body.

As the adrenaline wore off my actions slowed right down and I really could not think or do anything with any urgency. I think it took me half an hour to shower and get dressed. Norm got me something to eat and then the wait for presentation. I had a chair to sit on and a chair for my legs to rest on, I wrapped myself up in a jacket and a scarf, put my ipod into my ears and closed my eyes.

Perhaps an hour later was the moment of glory, to share the podium with my competitors and to be rewarded for my efforts.

 

So many people achieved amazing results – super human efforts to be proud of.

More photos more happy people but I am about to drop dead from exhaustion.

I just want to get back to our place, I want to lay down and sleep.

For sure everyone feels this way but we want to savour these moments.

Norm & I worked hard to achieve this win with so many people and sponsors to thank in good time.

Sleep is the biggest and best reward I can give myself now...and so begins the next 4 days to recovery.