My personal achievement was making it through the Women's 100 annual event and still having a smile at the end of the day. Last years effort still hurts - but this year was such a contrast. They are the black and white of rides.
After enduring 6 months of trying to get back on the bike, trying to find my passion for riding and trying to get my smile back I had returned to the place that helped create that smile. That place is Cafe Racer on a Saturday morning at 7am!
2 weeks ago, I had got back into the bunch and I don't think I have stopped smiling since. I knew this was perfect to help me find my redemption. I was going to go to a Womens 100, I would celebrate it for everything it is and come away from it feeling inspired and energised.
The first difference from last year is that I was going to be with the girls who have been my strength from Day 1. My sisters in cycling - too many to name individually, but all branded with the same stripes. My Liv/ladies who no matter how close or how far away, are all special and unique. Second was that I was prepared. Despite the fact that I had not done a great deal on the bike, my body knows how to ride 100kms and this time my head was there for the journey as well.
My preparation was as planned. My sleep was interrupted all night due to nervous excitement and I couldn't wait for the alarm to sound at 4:45am. I quickly pulled on my driving gear, grabbed my drink bottles and was in the car by 5:00am. I had packed the car with all of my riding essentials. Breakfast, lunch and enough bananas to make a monkey jealous. Pre, During and Post fuel to ensure that the 100kms could be done without hitting unnecessary walls.
The trip to Melbourne was easy - given most people are tucked into warm beds at 5am on a Sunday morning in the dead of winter. And as I pulled up my car, there was a familiar sight around me. Jo Hall and Kirsty Baxter - there at the finish line making sure everything was right for the 100+ girls who would ascend on The White House in St Kilda later that day. These 2 need to be applauded - both of them dedicating so much time, energy, support and effort into seeing more and more women on bikes.
After a quick hello it was time to keep moving. I had to get into my kit, get Maverick ready and get to Cafe Racer which was the official start line. And there, second by second, it was obvious that this day was going to be massive. So many familiar faces all there to celebrate Women's Cycling.
We were briefed, split into groups of over 30 and under 30 ... (speed, not age which is the only place under 30 that applies to me) and group by group we headed out onto Beach Road to start our 100km ride. I had the utmost pleasure of riding alongside Jane for most of the way - an amazing person who has helped me on and off the bike from day 1. We come from the opposite sides of Melbourne, so to ride together is always a privilege and cherished time.
|Heading down Beach Rd - enjoying the social nature of this ride.|
I look at this photo and it shows exactly what this ride was all about. Amazing women, out together, socialising and supporting each other. There were times where I was the one offering the support. And not that much further down the road, I was the one being supported. That is what I love so much about not only women's cycling, but this unique group and these rides. There is never any judgement, never any competition. Just encouragement, support and an overwhelming urge to just have fun.
I won't say it was easy however it was the easiest 100kms I have done. But I had all of the right ingredients and finally it all fell into place.
- Physically and Mentally ready.
- Preparation was perfect. (It helped I was also preparing for a plasma donation, so I really made sure I was going to be OK for both)
- I had all the support a girl could want.
- I took a role is assisting others beat the demons that had previously haunted me.
- I had learnt from the best on getting a group of girls from A to B unharmed or lost.
- We had ZERO flats (in our group)
- The support offered behind the scenes never went unnoticed.
- And the Melbourne weather was perfect.
It was an amazing day with a long credit role.
Massive thanks to Oakley Australia, TORQ Nutrition, Hawthorn Common, Tom Organic, Jaggad, Greene Street Juice and Northside Wheelers who made our day what it was.
To the girls of Bicycle Superstore Womens Road Cycling Team and Tri Alliance - along with many other groups and clubs representing .... it was so great to meet so many new women out of the road. It is always nice to return home and find 9 new friend requests on Facebook.
To Kirsty Baxter for the photo album of memories and to Corinna Brown who was out there helping in every way possible. Knowing you were not far away made for a much more relaxing ride.
And have you ever wondered how to get 100+ women out of bed by 6am on a Sunday in the middle of winter - just call Jo Hall. Women's cycling needs to take their hat off to her and all the people at Liv/giant who let her do what she does.
|Inspired and Energised - CHECK!|