Hola! Back in Girona, Spain now and so good to be back. As much as it was great to be home in New Zealand recovering around family, it was certainly a good feeling touching down here, catching up with my boyfriend Michael and our Girona friends. It's been a long road to recovery and seeing friends and loved ones was always a highlight along the way.
Very happy to admit I'm physically feeling almost 100% again. After a lot of physio back in NZ I now just about have full range of movement in my elbow and don't even notice my back these days, unless I sneeze!
I arrived back here mid August around the same time that Michael returned from the Olympics where he earned a hard fought silver medal with the Aussie teams pursuit squad - very nice to be back to celebrate with friends and his family who had come over from Aus for some exploring across Spain!
Since then, I've been able to regularly ride up to a few hours and just get the enjoyment back of being out on the bike and feeling the wind in my face. It's definitely taken me a while but being on the Girona roads in the sunshine has certainly helped ease the process. I'm also dabbling in a bit of running which I've really been enjoying. I used to run a lot growing up and forgot how good it feels to run fast...a bit like the freedom of riding but different! Must say, it took me a while to get some reasonable running momentum, as I'm sure all cyclists understand and I'm certainly not running too fast, just yet!
As I've had a bit of time on my hands here this past month, I've also been mind battling a lot about the future and where to from here. It's hard to comprehend, but I've come to the realization that I'm simply not ready to even think about racing my bike at this point and it's left me doing a lot of thinking about what else I'd like to do with my life! So, as much as I love this sport and the people I've met in it, I've very recently decided to take next season out from competitive racing and try something new. This isn't a retirement blog or statement by any means as I'm still uncertain about the future and my exit from the sport. This wasn't the way I wanted to bow out and up until May this year I definitely had bigger plans as an athlete. But as they say, things don't always go to plan. The accident I had wasn't the worst, and there's certainly been a lot worse off, this season in particular but it did hit me harder than expected and as said, I'm simply not ready to commit to 2017. In saying that, the more time I spend away from the sport, the more enthused I get to explore new opportunities and a different lifestyle. It's frightening to think about the transition into the 'real world' but also exciting.
Who know's where to for the immediate future but as of a few weeks ago I'm really starting to look at options for the next phase. I'm now very glad I stuck with my Business, Marketing degree and got that in the bag last year so hopefully an opportunity will arise, ideally in the sporting industry where my passion remains and probably always will.
For now, I would just like to say a massive thank you to a few special people for supporting me over the years and also throughout this difficult process.
Firstly to my Team, Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley bank for having me over these past two seasons. We raced hard but also had a blast with one another. I have many great memories with the team and ones I know I will keep for a long time. The girls are an absolute hoot and staff showed nothing but support while racing and also since I've been injured. Special thanks to the team owner, Linda Jackson and director Ed Beamon. I will miss you all lot's and will continue to root for you big time next season!
To Jeff Pierce and Jo Kiesanowski for your coaching support over the years and being so understanding with this decision. If Jeff has it his way, sure he will have me back at it by 2017 - we shall see!
To our amazing team sponsors who have also been so supportive throughout the process and seasons of racing and to New World Remuera who's support has been invaluable over the years.
A special shout out to my family who haven't peeped a word of help in making this decision which I love them for. My parents have never put a spot of pressure on me growing up in the sport which has helped me continue to love it for so long. To Michael who's been my rock looking after me in the earlier stages and keeping me calm throughout the thought process (also no help in the decision)!, Pam & Robert Lerner, Lindsay, Cindy & John Myers, Paul Leitch, Steve Haddock & Tony Smith for helping me out through my recovery back home in NZ, and of course my lovely mates & family friends in NZ and abroad, especially here in Girona. There is definitely more people to thank here but the list could go on. It really has been so great having so much support from the cycling community and beyond - so THANKS and love to you all.
Ciao for now!