Thursday, 21 August 2014

The racing season is coming to an end, sentimental time...

What a year it's been! I experienced XC Elite racing, did my first MTB stage race, first Streetvelodrome race, first Gravity Enduro and first silly-long road ride, spontaneously doubling my max road distance up to 300km. Continued XC racing and did a XC relay race wit my husband. It's been a crazy, tough, sad'n'happy year. Definitely an intense one. Hats off to Sean for being there when it felt too much and when it felt like not enough ;) Memories made. Fitness lost. Goals achieved. Ticked off. Satisfied. I think the weather makes me sentimental today...

It's been a hard season for me because my dreams were so big and my fitness was so small. The body was struggling and with a great season last year, it was very frustrating not to be able to ride at a siilar level again. No support was too much for me. And it was even harder because I knew it was most likely my once-in-a-lifetime shot at the biggest of my biking dreams.
But doing sprint repeats in pouring rain, I looked back at where I was just a few years ago. At the girl who knew that road bikes had skinny tyres and the mountain bikes had thick ones and that was all. Who used a bike three times a year and put it in the basement for half a year when the weather got got cold. Who had one bike for the whole family - bikes have sizes??!! (not that we used it for more than 50km a year anyway). Who only 6 years ago bought her first mountain bike for €500 and felt like she owned the world (and like she got completely crazy spending such money on a bicycle!). But then, after a few rides, she didn't ride it until the next summer because "you don't ride bikes in the winter".

I remember climbing the Kilmashogue for the first time, probably for an hour, and stopping every 10 minutes, making a wild dream of riding it without a stop one day. Soon I was racing up it, trying to get down to the magic target of 20 minutes.
I'm looking back at my first rides up 3Rock in Dublin Mountains. At riding the Rock'n'Roll section over and over again with Arek, learning one corner after another, until I eventually could ride it without dabbing. I still remember how sweet that satisfaction tasted. I remember my first drops, which I had been approaching for months before I could finally ride it. The first rooty descents, first jumps, first hill repeats.
I look back at my fist races in Ireland, heart pounding, adrenaline rushing, big grins on everybody's faces. The friendly, family-like, atmosphere at those races. The satisfaction at tackling the technical courses, regardless of the places taken at the finish line.

One day somebody asked about my goals in biking and I replied that I'd like to ride a World Cup, and laughed. Riding a World Cup, going to space, saving tigers in Asia and having a tea with Einstein - dreams are good, aren't they, life would be greyer without them.

Just an ordinary girl...No sport background, no athletic family members or friends, average fitness, underactive thyroid wreaking havoc when it felt like doing so, never particularly good at or interested in sports before discovering Irish mountain biking, big love for mud, rocks and roots and for humbling views from the tops of mountains. And unreasonably big dreams. Because, why not?

And here I am, 5 years after starting to mountainbike, 4 years after starting to race. Packing my suitcase because tomorrow I'm flying to France. To race in a World Cup.

Dream big.