It is hard to measure the impact these 2 things have had on my life, let alone others. For 4 years I did what I did because I loved it and I was passionate about it. This passion flowed through every aspect of my life. When I was not riding, I was thinking about it. A passion brought on by one thing. To Conquer Cancer. To help raise money and awareness to try and put a stop to the pain and suffering I have seen caused by this one disease.
4 years is a long time. It has been a lot of very hard work, rewarded by the moments I would cross a finish line and hold my trophy to the sky.
My bike Maverick and my matching kit - a permanent shrine and personal tribute to those who I ride for. My Fighters and My Angels.The Vision Crusader kit that I ride in - the eye catching uniform worn by a unique collection of people who I have shared this passion with. This has been what the last 4 years have been about.
But with that has come more funerals that I want to remember and more stories of heartbreak than one person can take. One of my greatest strengths in life quickly became my biggest weakness - I cared too much.The weight of expectation that I was hoping to deliver eventually wore me down and no matter how much I achieved, I felt like I was failing. When you ride your guts out, dig deep to find personal strength, beg for precious fundraising dollars, miss out on seeing your kids wake in the morning and miss out on 1 on 1 time with your husband - all because I had to train ... only to have news delivered that another person has lost the battle - eventually it got me.
I know my feelings were compounded by my own personal loss. I knew what death meant. I knew what loss was. And while I was out trying to save strangers from one disease, another took the life of my mum. And it had a very real chance of taking much more.
"Your family don't get the best of you - you give it to everyone else" - unknown
I don't remember where I read this saying, but it was enough for me to take a note of it and realise things needed to change in my life. And this is where #ridelikeamum became my new hashtag. My new motto for my life.
I have a new #reason2ride ... a new outlook on life.
I spend close to 45 hours each week at work. My 8am - 5pm job is a non-negotiable equation in my life simply because I have to. I don't have any real quality time with my family Monday through to Friday - instead it is just a whirlwind of daily routines... Monday - Friday I don't live : I exist just trying to keep the household together.
So now on weekends, instead of spending my time training, resting, recovering and campaigning to try and raise money, I have stopped and I try to spend my time living. Raising my kids and being the best Mum I can be. Being there to enjoy breakfast with them. Go to the park. Do things together and watch them grow up. Giving the best of me to my family - and not everyone else.
And when I do get out on Mav - well there is a whole new #reason2ride her too. That is Part 2.