I’m looking at the start of the Dutch national road race championship for elite women in Kerkrade. For twenty minutes now, all the women have been lined up and are waiting. They have eager faces. “Am I positioned close enough to the front?”. How fast will we start? Can I cope with this course?” The tension is visible on all 130 faces. And the strangest thing is: I want to be part of this as well! Although I never rode a race in my life, I know it for sure. Next year I will be here as well.
Whilst this thought rises to my head, I have already made my schedule. This summer I’ll have to ride some trainings races to get used to the dynamics of a race. In the winter I’ll have to keep up the training hours and during spring I will have to earn enough points during the races to qualify. Then, in June 2014, I will be at the start as well.
Almost unnoticed I hear my team manager talk to me: “Anne Loes, do you want to know the number of points you are short to ride the Dutch national road race championship?”. The sentence keeps repeating in my head for at least 10 seconds before I truly understand the meaning of his words. The last year I have lived for cycling. After work a quick meal and getting back on the bike again for a training. Cycling with my training buddy through the pouring rain to make the necessary training hours. The many power exercises on the Tacx because of the terrible weather outside.
I have had difficult weeks after a hard crash in March. I couldn’t cycle and I have counted thousands of tiles in the swimming pool to speed up the recovery. The many visits to my physiotherapist, manual therapist, sports massage and sports doctor. The fear, when getting on the bike again, for the stabbing pain and realizing that I have to stop again. I have still not fully recovered to cycle again. Next week I will have to try again. And getting back in the peloton, I see the crashes again. I feel the tension in the peloton.
But it’s all been worth it and I’ve enjoyed the past year very much. I am better, stronger, smarter, and quicker. I have learned and experienced how to ride in, and with a team in a one day classic. I stood side by side to Marianne in a small race. (At the start that is, I never saw her again during that race, except for cycling 5 seconds next to me in the peloton… when she lapped us). I conquered my fear to ride in the thundering peloton again, after being in hospital after my crash. I am grateful for the support of all my friends and family who are so very proud of me, that at the age of 32 , I still have the desire to race....
Next year I will be there. I have one year to go. My schedule is ready.
Marianne: when do you determine your next goals and who helps you setting the right steps towards realizing them?