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Since my last blog entry my training journey has encountered a few bumps. However all these challenges have added value, character, strength and integrity to my experience, which is becoming more enriching as each day passes.

The first bump was quite literally that, when I lost 1-0 to a Cattle Stop. 50km into our ride, having just nailed the “The Bitch” and feeling really good, a wet greasy cattle stop whipped my bike out from underneath me and before I knew it, I was lying in a heap on the wet cold tarseal. I can count my blessings I didn’t break anything, however it certainly battered the right side of my body, for which I had a few cracking bruises to show, and knocked my riding confidence down a peg or two.

The following Saturday, after a few rest days and some indoor training sessions, I got back on my bike and headed out in the cold drizzle. Wet, with frozen feet from the outset, when I hit the thick fog on Dyers Pass Rd I wasn’t in a happy place and I really questioned what I was doing, and why I was doing it. Of the 3hr30 ride scheduled, I completed 2hr30. Feeling disappointed with my ride, as I sat on my bedroom floor with my feet wrapped in a towel trying to get some life back into them, I started to question myself, my ability, and why I thought I could take on the challenge of training for and completing a 3 day road cycling event.

But I had been here before and clearly remember a very similar day when training for Taupo Half Ironman where I doubted my ability, and thought I couldn’t go on, “I couldn’t swim 2km”. But I did, and I completed the event and achieved my goal. Which to this day I am still very proud of. So I drew on this past experience, reminded myself that I do have the strength to accept today was simply just one of ‘those training days’ and laughed when I turned over my daily quote calendar to read “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”. It is amazing how the universe knows best.

Due to cold wet weather conditions, my next two training days I choose to do inside on a Spin Bike. And while I had moved on from Saturdays ‘bad’ day, I really pushed myself so it hurt. But the good hurt. The kind where you walk away feeling absolutely buggered, but 100% fulfilled with your effort.

Later that week, sunny weather provided me the opportunity to get back out on the road and into the hills to regain some confidence, for which I was very grateful. For the first time in a few weeks I actually really enjoyed being out on my bike.

Back on track, I trained hard all week and by Friday night the body and legs were feeling pretty fatigued. But there was a session planned for both Saturday and Sunday. So do I push on, or do I listen to my body and take a rest? Sensibility ruled and I gave myself Saturday to recharge and reset. It was the best decision I’d made all week.

Sundays session: “Ride to Winter Worlds, complete the race, then take the long way home”. So I did. 140km of strength, gratitude and absolute joy. This is #whyweride. The feeling of freedom, privilege, accomplishment, and happiness.

Coming along Summit Road before dropping down into Sumner I said to James who was riding with me, “I feel like I am on top of the world up here” – it was pure magic.

It is for these glory days we push through the ugly days.

It is these days we must treasure.

The deep intense fire in my belly is burning once more.

Penelope Watson
Team CP Sports Coach
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