Today was one of those days. You know, those days when something happens that makes you really question the direction you have taken with you life. This used to happen a lot when I was in school: a few bad tests and I would question whether I was taking the right courses. It happened when I was a waitress: a few bad tips and I would worry that I wasn't cut out for the job. It happened when I was doing research: a failed experiment (for the 5th time in a row) and I would question whether I was really cut out to be a scientist. Etc, etc. I'm sure everyone has these days, when they question whether they are good enough at their job, and they worry that they made the wrong decision to pursue that particular field. It is scary to think that you are not good enough at something that you have made so many sacrifices for. Today, I had one of those days on the bike.
The day started out pretty well as I had a pretty good swim. I had done some all-out 50s, 100s and 200s the night before so I was lacking my speed, but I felt like the energizer bunny in the water. I could just keep going and going at pace just below threshold. I finished my swim and I was happy. I knew I was on track to be as fast or faster than the previous year.
A few hours later I was on my bike. I had a nice and easy 30km ride to Sand Hollow Park. Yes, there was a bit of a headwind, but nothing too crazy. In fact, there was an awesome tailwind for the last little stretch which was quite fun. However, as soon as I turned a corner I was in for a shock. I guess because Sand Hollow is nothing but open sand fields and farms, the wind gets pretty crazy there. I had never felt such a huge cross-wind/head wind. I was going up the first 5km climb at a snails pace as I gripped my bike to avoid being swept off the road. As I approached the top of the climb I thought it would be over soon, but I was wrong. I couldn't even descend the hill in my big chain ring! And going into aero position was out of the question as the wind was tossing me all over the road. This sort of hanging-on-for-dear-life type of cycling went on for about an hour (or 15km) as I desperately tried to make it out of the Sand Hollow alive. Once I was out I had a nice tailwind that took me about 35km, but still, some nasty wind gusts made for a few, very scary, close calls. From 75km - 100km I was back into a headwind and crosswind. At this point I was already pretty tired, just from focusing on staying upright, and this little stretch was very demoralizing as I grinded away in my easiest gear, barely moving forward. Finally I was in the last hard 8km, which involved the crazy ascent up Snow Canyon Drive, with the 18% grades and a 40kph headwind. Just before I approached the climb, another triathlete caught up to me and said "don't worry this is as bad as it gets" ... I had a moment where I thought "oh, thank god", but then the next moment I saw the triathlete speeding away from me up the hill making it look easy. Wow, one second happy and the next back to feeling completely useless. I cried as I ascended the hill, I wondered what the hell I had been thinking signing up for St. George and worrying that I was just not good enough to be a pro triathlete. I questioned all the sacrifices I had made, all the money I had invested and all the hard work I had put in...I could barely make it up this stupid hill! I'm sure some of the other female Pros would have passed me like I was a beginner. I got back to the hotel after 4hrs40minutes of riding and headed out for my 15 minute run. When I was back home I collapsed on the bed and let the tears flow.
After I collected myself and my thoughts (and had the best avocado I have ever eaten in my life, no joke, it was the perfect texture!), I realized that I even after today I can't stop now. I have come this far, worked so hard and I wouldn't have gotten here if I wasn't good enough. This is just a hurdle that I have to figure out how to get through, like so many of the other hurdles I have overcome to get where I am. So...I'm going to keep going...just like I did in the past when I questioned myself...and hope for the best.
(I also happened to read this as soon as I opened my computer to type this blog: "Don’t get demoralised riding your bike on a windy day!" from How to Ride Your Bike Into the Wind) HAHAHA