[ so·lil·o·quy – the act of speaking one’s thoughts aloud when by oneself or regardless of any hearers ]
By the end of her hour record attempt yesterday, Dame Sarah Storey had exerted so much energy that she couldn’t unclip her shoes from her pedals or undo her helmet, couldn’t bring her leg over the back of her bike, couldn’t stand up, couldn’t walk. She was cramping so much that she couldn’t sit in a chair and so ended up flat on the floor in full view of all the cameras, panting so much she couldn’t even take on water. Her core temperature was so high she needed an ice vest to cool down. Watching the pained expression on her face, the redness, the tears, I felt her emotion. As an onlooker, I knew without a doubt that she had given that record attempt absolutely everything she had. As she was manhandled off her bike, there was absolutely nothing left.
Unfortunately, Sarah Storey didn’t quite make the one hour record. Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel still holds that at 46.065km, and has done for 12 years. But at 45.502km she does now hold the Masters, British and Paralympic C5 records, which is absolutely amazing. Did you know Dame Sarah now has 75 world records to her name? Wow. If you’ve done the maths you’ll know Sarah was just 500 ish metres off the record. Rather close.
No-one who watched the hour record attempt can deny that Sarah Storey didn’t try hard enough. Sarah herself, her trainers, her sponsors, her supporters, even the doubters, all have to agree that what she did was quite amazing and as a result she is an inspiration to people all over the world. It is likely that as a result of this attempt another female cyclist (or two, or three) will give the hour record a go in the near future – it’ll be very interesting to watch that. I wonder if Sarah Storey will have another go sometime?!
It probably won’t be me… I’m not going to be attempting the UCI hour record any time soon(!), but I can definitely learn something from Sarah Storey. She trained, she prepared, and on the day she gave her whole being to her goal. There is a life lesson right there. It is a well known fact that dedication is one of the most important factors in success (can you hear Roy Castle sing?!), and without it we are never going to achieve our goals. In order to be who we want to be, do what we want to do, we have to focus and commit the mind and the body and give it our best shot.
Life is all about the journey. Give it everything you’ve got.
I am really looking forward to my track cycling experience at Lee Valley VeloPark later in the year – if you have any other suggestions for my bucket list or can help me achieve any of them please get in touch as I’d love to hear from you.