Racing and life can both have their ups and downs. Sometimes you crash and break your collar bone, and sometimes you have the opportunity to come back and win the following year...isn't life like that sometimes. When you are delivered a blow it can be easy to quit, but there is usually a hidden opportunity for growth and improvement if you look a little deeper.
Last year when I crashed near the end of the Axel Merckz Gran Fondo I was pretty bummed (you can't see it from the photo above as I was having fun drowning my sorrows with a few cold beers!). The hidden opportunity for me was some much needed rest from riding and racing. I was forced off the bike completely for a few weeks and that break really helped set up the gains I have been able to make this past year. 7 weeks after my crash I was supposed to do a 7-day race in the Pyrenees. I was pretty worried I wouldn't be able to go and if I did I wouldn't be fit. Well I went, and I rode stronger with each day, eventually placing 19th overall. That amazing experience was greatly affected by the crash. Rest and motivation to get back really set things up for me as I went to Europe well rested and really motivated. I have been able to continue using the experience in the Pyrenees to take my riding up to another level.
Winning the overall and team competition at the Axel Merckz Gran Fondo this year was the culmination of what has been an incredible year of racing for me. From broken collar bone last year to winning this year I've learned yet again that hard work and perseverance can take you quite far. I also learned (and must continue to remind myself) that proper rest and some time away from what you are working on is really important mentally as well as physically.
Thanks again to the Fulgas boys as without your help during the race there is no way I could have won. If you haven't seen the sprint finish - check out this video
Sprint starts at 1:05