As we approach the end of yet another year, it’s time to sit back and reflect on what we have achieved, and what we didn’t achieve, hoping that 2018 will bring a fresh new start. This was always my mentality when it came to setting goals with my career as a professional cyclist. I was always so excited at the end of the season to see what areas I could improve upon for the following season. It seemed at times, like there were limitless opportunities. So many 1% ers to be improved and discovered. One thing I always focused on was hitting the reset with diet. I hate that word, but it really did apply to my mentality of how I approached food. I always found myself gorging on food before / during the christmas period. Afterwards feeling extreme guilt for what I had done, and riding 150km day after day to undo what I had done. So goal one was drop the christmas weight before the national titles in January, which is known to be a very tough circuit, suited to a powerful rider.
This year however, things are different, I am no longer a pro athlete, and my goals have changed significantly. My goals don’t revolve around weight or performance, rather being healthy and happy and productive. The new year brings a whole new array of challenges and life changes for me. For one, I will be moving to Belgium full-time to be with my partner, which means a new challenge… learning Dutch. This is one thing I am slightly terrified of, as I have never have seemed to be able to get the knack of learning a new language. It does scare me, the fact I may fail, or it may take me 5 years. At the same time, it is nice to know I will be using my brain for something productive that is going to enhance my life abroad. It’s very much a goal for myself, and at the same time, I want to show my partner my commitment to him by doing this.
Goal two, is to find happiness in other things than just cycling. So far, I think I’m actually kicking this goal, as I no longer define myself as an athlete/ cyclist, and rather finding myself redefining myself. A large part of this goal is learning to be comfortable with the body I have, and letting go of the guilt of not being super lean and fit anymore. With that being said, I do miss the feeling of being really fit, so this is something I will begin to work on in 2018.
One of the best gifts this summer has been my Ridley mountain bike. It has given me a whole new challenge, and as frustrated as I can get because my skill levels aren’t where I wish them to be, I love it. I love everything about mountain biking, it encompasses everything I love about sport in general. I feel like it is a sport where you are constantly challenging yourself physically and mentally (not to say road riding doesn’t do that). I guess with road riding I reached a certain level, and was content. With mountain biking, it is a whole new ball game, where I am very much a beginner. I can see my love for the bike growing and growing again, and I have Ridley to thank for that.
My advice to anyone who reads this, is don’t look at the New Year as a time to transform yourself. It’s a time to reflect on the past year, and realise your successes and failures. Everything in life is gradual, and we need to take time to enjoy the process of getting better… slowly. This was my downfall with pro cycling, and I realise that now. Realise your goal, and make a plan to slowly work towards it. That is my reality when it comes to learning Ducth. It will be a longggg slowwww process. But I’ll get there in the end 🙂
Happy New Year friends!