Friday, 11 July 2014

Back in the Bunch

Last weekend I finally found that desire to return to group riding. To be honest, if it had not been for my beautiful friend Carol Cooke heading off to defend her World Title stripes, I would have still been stuck procrastinating - using my very valid excuses that I had relied on over the last 6 months.

Getting back into the bunch, like anything, was harder in my mind than it was in reality. Putting aside that I now have a round trip of 180kms just to join the girls, that I have to get up at 4:45am after a solid week of working, that I miss a quarter of my weekend time with the family or that the average temperature at this time of year is in single digits, these reasons were not what was keeping me away.

For those who have followed my last 2 years, you understand the emotion of my riding. I am not in it for the win, for the competition or for the glory. I am in it because it has allowed me to achieve my dreams. But in a world where we don't often live Happily Ever After, I had started to question my dreams. I was struggling to find reason in what I was doing.

Ride To Conquer Cancer has been my life for the last 2 years. There had barely been a day where I had not done something to make a difference to the life of those battling cancer. Raising awareness and research funds so people I knew didn't have to suffer. Trying to prevent death from an unnecessary evil called Cancer. And then all at once, it seemed Cancer showed me that no matter how hard I try - it is always going to win. And it was prepared to prove to me that it can strike anyone, anytime and it can strike fast. In 6 months I sat at 3 funerals and left wondering "What more can I do"

Slowly, I was letting Cancer beat me by making me think "why bother?" Why should I get up at 4:45am to go and ride my bike. Why should I freeze my tired arse off, push my body to the limit training for more events? Why should I miss waking up to the faces of my 3 kids; miss morning cuddles in a warm bed; miss making them pancakes that we could eat while watching cartoons in our pajamas?

And slowly, I also started to think .. I am done with fundraising. I am done with the knock backs, I am done with constantly referring people to my online donation portal and being met with silence. I am done trying to find the elusive support that seems almost impossible to find this year.

But then out of nowhere, my reason came. In the pages of a fictional book, I found my reason to why I need to continue. A book I had hesitated to read for a few weeks had the answers and motivation that I needed. And it comes back to what got me started to begin with. While it kills, I will ride! While people are cheated the right to live Happily Ever After, the least I can try and do is give them hope.

My riding and fundraising will never bring back those we have lost. And it probably serves as a reminder to our Angels families when they see me continue to try and fight a loosing battle. But at the same time, I have new fighters to provide hope to. People near and dear to me who have recently sat in a doctors office and been told that they have Cancer. People who need to know I won't quit. That I will not give in to my excuses and I will drag my tired bones out of bed and find the strength it takes to climb over this hill.

My reason to ride - I really didn't think that it was my mental toughness that was going to be put through the biggest workout! But with 36 sleeps to go until I line up in Brisbane, I am going to give this thing all I have got.

And thanks to my Liv/girls - I'll be back for more bunch rides and breaky before I go!!!

There I am - Top Photo, Second on the Left.
Back in the Bunch after 6 months

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