Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Review of 2012 - Natalie

I’m afraid my review of 2012 has come a little late.  I will spare you the excuses but they revolve around breaking my toe and my bike and my car breaking down.  This was particularly interesting as on the morning of my first race for MuleBar Girl earlier this year, the very same car threatened to scupper my plans by stubbornly refusing to start.  Thankfully on this occasion and following a dubious drive back from Germany with a rapidly ailing car (an earlier model to this I might add), I’d bitten the bullet and paid for motor recovery.  Unfortunately that didn’t help me with writing the blog but it did give me something to preamble about and got me back on four wheels faster than I got back on two wheels or two feet.
Copyright Juan Trujillo
2012 has been a fantastic year with the MuleBar Girls.  At the end of the 2011 season I wasn’t even sure if I’d be racing again after a back injury kept me off the bike for a number of months.  However, the girls obviously saw a little glimmer of hope and I’m so glad that I took up their offer of joining such a great team even when I didn’t know if I could race or not.

Copyright Juan Trujillo
My review of the year revolves around smiles and laughter both on and off the bike, racing and training, coffee, cake and embrocation oil with a smattering of tears, pain, frustration and gritted determination.  I’ve made some amazing friends in the MuleBar Girls and we’ve won some races in the process.  I’ve seen my team mates on the podium and we’ve fought through tough times together.  I’ve experienced the inspiration of the Olympic games on my doorstep and I’ve ground out some evil turbos while the rain lashes down outside.  I’ve eaten bread and butter pudding for breakfast and I’ve been on TV. There’ve been times when I felt like there was two of me riding my bike and I know what it is like to really truly want something.  Then there are the times when my legs felt like lead or when I tried so hard and for so long to get away that they just could not push any longer do what I may, even though moments afterwards it felt like I simply capitulated.  I’ve warmed up on the rollers with the same song on repeat losing myself in the words and the beat and I’ve gone missing time and again in the moment of racing.  I’ve chased wheels uphill and down and been bashed about by the unrelenting Dutch wind.  I’ve climbed mountains in the sunshine and felt the energising heat of the sun’s rays penetrate my limbs as I rest in the square.
Copyright Huw Williams
My love affair with my bike has certainly been rekindled in 2012 and I have 5 very special people to thank for that – my team mates.  It is not an overstatement to say that they are a team of hugely fun loving and determined girls who really care about women’s cycling and who have a passion for getting more women out there on bikes.
Happy New Year to you all and see you out on the roads soon!
Natalie xx

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