Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off and Start Again

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Having never written a blog before this could either be a complete disaster or the next big thing. Most likely it’ll be somewhere in the middle, but hopefully my ramblings will keep you entertained over a cuppa and a custard cream or two.

I’ve recently come back from my first weekend racing for the Breast Cancer Care Cycling Team in Belgium, and what an experience it was! As only my 2nd ever road race, I knew racing the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad was going to be one of my biggest challenges to date but boy, I did not expect that. The day before the race I was staying in London with one of my teammates, Penny. We’d just got our lovely new Bianchi bikes and were keen to make sure everything fitted well before leaving for Belgium. So we set off to the park to spin round a few laps. First few laps, yep, everything feels good; I was feeling pretty fresh and the bike fit well. Then BAM, the appearance of a suicidal pigeon put a pretty abrupt end to my ride. Gory details aside, lets just say I came off much better than the pigeon (I still have my head attached to my body) and apart from a couple of cuts and bruises on me, a few scuffs on Bruce (my bike) I wasn’t actually too bad. Nevertheless we headed back to where we were staying to get on with our Euro travels.

Race day was a completely new experience for me, and isn’t something I’ll forget in a hurry. At -4 degrees, I was probably the coldest I have ever been but us cyclists are tough cookies and we raced full gas. I had a good position on the start line in the 2nd row but my inexperience showed when by the time we’d got to the first corner, I was already around 100th! In a field of 170, this is not where you want to be, and I found this out pretty quick when I was caught up in a crash. Man doooowwwnnn. In that situation, there’s only one thing to do. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start again. So I hopped back on Brucey, and began my chase. Unfortunately with the effort I put in getting back onto the group, I was completely pooped and my time was up. My group got pulled out of the race at about 90km, which was disappointing for me but I think my day was really over when I hit the deck.

Looking back, the race has more positives than negatives. I learnt that in order to feature at all in these types of races, you need to be confident within the group. Had I stayed in that 2nd line, perhaps I wouldn’t have been involved in such a pile up. I felt strong on the bike after one of my best winters of training and I realised it is my lack of racing experience that let me down. And looking at my racing calendar, getting that experience this year is not going to be a problem! I’m off to Belgium again this weekend for “Take 2” and am really looking forward to challenging myself again.

Now that the triathlete jokes have already started (triathletes seem to have issues staying on their bikes), I have gained a reputation on the team already! Fab. Think I’ll have to work hard to get rid of this reputation over the next few months!

Anyway, enough of my chat for now.
Over & out,

Eli xox

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