It is true that we do not remember days, we remember moments. And a few moments recently stand out above the rest.
The first moment – taking a big breath as the time counted down from 5 seconds before my heat in the 3km individual pursuit at the 2016 National Para Cycling Track Championships. Timing is critical for a gate start. Timing for this gate start was the ‘criticialist’ – just a small race to qualify for World Champs and therefor keep the dream of qualifying for the Rio Paralympics alive. No biggie. Thoughts running through my head?
…. Breathe…. Look around the bend…. Have fun…. Breathe….. Look around the bend…. Have fun….
The second moment – around lap six of the 3km and hearing the announcer declare that “Macdougall is riding strongly and ahead of her schedule”. Damm right, I was smashing out my schedule as indicated by Annina who was providing lap-by-lap feedback on the side of the track.
The third moment – after finishing the race, which was well under the qualifying for World Champs, I walked up into the middle of the track and met my coaching team of Mick and Annina Gallagher. Annina had a few tears in her eyes, Mick was smiling, I was completely legless. We had a team hug that was charged with happiness, relief, exhaustion, joy, and elation. Job done.
These moments were the culmination of a shit load of hard work. To help put things into perspective, I have created a ‘Performance Pyramid’ that include statistics from the past eight months of training. And these stats are just from the past eight months, they don’t capture the previous decades of groundwork.
Making my first World Championships team as a cyclist is pretty special and has required a bucket load of faith not only from myself but countless individuals. Thank-you to all my supporters, family and friends – being an athlete can be an extremely selfish pursuit at times. You put your training and racing ahead of celebrations, birthdays, weddings, and other momentus occasions. I also realise I turn into a pumpkin at 9pm and am not the best person to party with. Hope I make up for it through breakfast dates! Thank-you all for giving me your support at this stage of my life, words cannot express my appreciation and gratitude.
Until next time,
Ride with a purpose, ride with a smile, ride in the moment,