The week and days leading up to my first race (Gaper's Block Criterium) I was really nervous and somewhat questioning myself. Could I really do this? I mean I bought my bike only a year ago and now I was going to try and race it- what the hell is wrong with me? I quickly snapped out of it once I thought again of why I am doing this. I needed to prove to myself that just because I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, it didn't mean that I couldn't reach new goals and set bigger and better dreams. MS isn't the end all be all and I wanted to make sure that not only I knew that, but other people affected by the disease new that as well. This is my way of saying "SUCK IT" to MS!
(1) Stay up - i.e. no crashing
I approached the start line- 21 girls in all for the race- the whistle blew and I was off again. This race was a little different then the one on Monday. There were a lot more experienced riders and they were picking up the speed quickly. At one point I looked at my heart rate monitor and hit a new record max of 197. Before I had only hit 187.
We had about 6 laps to go and I was in the front back. We were approaching a turn when the girl in front of me hit her brakes (as she had been doing the WHOLE freaking time). I knew better then to stay behind her the first couple of times I saw it happen but I did because I didn't want to be at the very front of the pack. As soon as she hit her brakes before the turn, she swerved to the right, my front wheel hit her back wheel and it came right out from under me. Before I could say "what the (fill in the blank)" I was bracing myself for my one on one with the cement. I hit, and I hit hard. I think going into the turn we were at about 19mph- not too fast but it was up there. When I hit the ground, I didn't really feel too much. I closed my eyes and hoped that I didn't take out anyone else along with me.... unfortunately that wasn't the case. One girl flew over me, bike and all. She ended up jumping back into the race and coming in 10th though- shes a stud. Me on the other hand, my bike was going two different directions, I had a hole through 2 layers of clothing on my right elbow, a massive lump and bruise on my butt and bruises and scrapes on both knees.... I decided to call it a day.
I quickly called my coach and told him the news. I felt like an idiot and was disappointed in myself. He cheered me up and told me it was ok and to bring my bike in tomorrow and we will check it out. I felt like I disappointed him and myself. On the way home all I could do was replay the race in my head. I was angry and determined to do better. As soon as I got home I texted Mark: "I'm racing Friday as long as my bike is good- I'm hungry and want more!
What's to come:
The first couple of races are out of the way and I am eager and excited for some more. Still planning out my race schedule but for sure I know I will be doing the Tour of Elk Grove and a non-race event known as the RAIN Ride (163 mile bike ride across Indiana in 1day). I'll keep everyone posted on whats going on and what's to come.
I'm excited and thrilled about this new part and adventure of my life and I hope to inspire others (with and without MS) to conquer their dreams and reach for the stars. Anything is possible and I hope to prove that.
xo xo xo