This time last year I was probably miserably sulking at my inability to do most things. That means things like showering, cooking, getting dressed, tying shoe laces and most importantly riding my bike – two broken arms was not an ideal scenario.
It is also these two broken arms that have made me look at 2018 quite differently to 2017. My friends like to regularly remind me how much of a grumpy little s**t I was during the 7 months I was off my bike. I can only offer many thanks to them for the patience and equal sh**t giving they gave back to me during that time – muchas gracias. Whilst I recognise I was very grumpy and miserable during this time it is hard to explain to anyone who hasn’t experienced an injury like that how it feels to have your favourite thing and form of stress relief taken away from you for an undetermined amount of time. Too many moments spent watching people ride and the occasional time spent even contemplating if I did actually ever want to ride again, that is a dark thought for me!
None the less it’s a new year and I am riding my bike, I mean it was touch and go for a minute I hasten to add! I headed out for a ride in the Surrey Hills on the anniversary of the day I broke my arms. Fully aware what significance this day had to me, I was riding like an ultimate squid, but wait look at that gap I could try and do – ‘You’ll be fine’, ‘You’ve done bigger than that before’ ‘Follow me in, just don’t brake before and keep your speed’…. Famous last words as the end result is pictured below. I think at that moment everyone’s thoughts were something along the lines of ‘Oh f*ck here we go again’, ‘Who wants to babysit Rachel in a bad mood for the next however many months’, am I right friends?! Ultimately I was fine and stood up with a smile on my face.
In 2017 I lost track of the amount of times I said ‘Oh well, I guess I will try and do it next year’ as races and events passed that my inability to move my arms prevented me from attending. It is probably this statement that has landed me in the situation I seem to have found myself in. Contrary the the popular phrase Tomorrow Never Comes, next year has come, and in fairly full force (having also started a PhD, yolo).
Lets put things into perspective and open up a little about how I sometimes feel about riding a bike and then try and work out why I say to these things I have done!
- I still hate drops, every time I eye one up an image of two broken arms flashes back into my mind
- I get realllyyyyy nervous at uplift days, I seem to think that it’s a recipe for me to end up on the floor, I really enjoy pedalling up a hill and chatting in between runs about how things went and being super chilled not charging run after run
- I get nervous at least 2 weeks before any race
- Every time I ride somewhere new I also think back to my first time sat Bike Park Wales and how it ended in disaster and often want to escape from the car I am driving to said new place in before I even get there
It’s probably safe to say I battle a lot of elements in my head when riding a bike. But true to form there were a lot of things I said I would do in 2018.
It started off with saying yes to Ard Rock and the Southern Enduro Champs as well as racing the Mini DHs at FoD and the Tavi Winter Series. Fully aware that Ard Rock would be the longest race I have ever done I immediately started thinking that I need to get really fit if I want to enjoy the stages and should probably try and ride some of the tracks that the Southern Enduro will be on. It was one of these days, riding on amazing Exmoor tracks my friend Jake mentioned he was racing Round 3 of the Enduro World Series in Olargues and we should put in on the waiting list/public lottery. My immediate thought was ah I’ll do it next year, but NO, that was last years way of thinking, I have no excuse this year, anything could happen in that time.
I put my name on the waiting list for all the European rounds and then eagerly waited until 22nd Jan for public lottery. I didn’t hear anything and thought oh well at least you bloody considered it, that’s good enough. Then, on 24th I saw an email from EWS flash up on my computer (oh bloody hell here we go I thought to myself) I tentatively opened it and my fears were confirmed, I had a spot for Round 3 in France where conveniently a few of my friends also had managed to get into! Cue manic messages and phone calls to help reach a decision and it was decided that why the hell not, it will be a laugh and an opportunity that may never come up again; to ride an EWS with a good bunch of people, in France where cheese and baguette is plentiful. Bike friends you truly are a great lot, for all the ups and the downs!
So, 2017 you were a bit of a bummer to begin with but I think without that behind me I certainly wouldn’t feel the need to be getting out there in 2018 so for that I salute you!
(p.s. if anyone does actually want to tell me how to get fit without knackering myself that would be wonderful! Actually a little scared!)