Let me tell you how the race went. I’ve only had my bike a month and have focused on distance rather than sprinting. After the first of my 4 laps (around 5km) my legs were burning. I’d somehow managed to get up to 18.5 mph on the final straight – I’ve not even come close to this before. I could just feel so many people rooting for me. Then disaster struck. After getting up so much speed someone pointed to where I should be going. It involved almost doubling back on myself. It involved a very sharp turn. Too sharp.
I went up on two wheels and needed to counter-steer to right myself. This all happened in a split second so my reactions stopped me steering into one person to right myself. I carried on, on two wheels, but had run out of track. I crashed through the barrier and once I’d finished taking out the cameraman, flew off the bike across the tarmac.
People rushed over to see if I was alright. I didn’t know. I knew I’d smacked my arm. I looked at it and saw blood. My legs and lungs were burning. Someone asked “do you want to go on?”. My body shouted “no!”. But so many people believed in me, knew I could do this. So I WAS going to do this. So I replied “yes” in direct contradiction to my body’s advice. This whole crisis seemed to take an age, but according to my Garmin only took around 2 minutes. The cameraman (and his camera I hope) survived the ordeal…
Back off and the more my legs burned and the more I gasped for breath, I was just reminded about all the good people are helping me to do. All the pain I’m feeling might be pain I’m helping someone avoid. So I tried to shoulder more. I pushed myself harder and harder, until on the last lap I started to get pins and needles in my face, hands and feet. I couldn’t get sufficient air into my lungs quickly enough to cope with the job at hand.
Every penny, every share, every word of encouragement was a source of energy and motivation for me. It’s simply amazing the reaction people all over the world have had. That made my body do amazing things. I had to estimate how long I’d take to ride 20km. After riding at full pace around Stoke Mandeville racetrack a few times I’d hit average speeds of around 12mph. But that was a 400m track. So over 20km, I estimated 10mph. This meant I would take 1 hour 15 minutes to complete the course at Dorney Lake. Even with the crash, with the support I’ve had, I managed to somehow finish in just over 50 minutes!! Official race times are yet to be released…
I cannot thank everybody enough. I wasn’t just racing for myself. I was racing for my team… and everybody who has supported me and the campaign is part of my team. I hope I did you proud.
It warms my heart to see so much support, to see so much love and compassion. It’s such a contrast too after I experienced the darker side of humanity. But I’ve found out the hard way that to fully appreciate the good things in life, you need to have been through bad to have something to compare them to.
“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
This applies to the one cruel act in 2009. I believe I am now experiencing part of the world’s reaction. My (unimaginably huge) team is showing me how different it is and people are coming together to help me. It’s like the scales of life are being rebalanced. In 2009 they were heavily weighted to the bad side of life. They are steadily being rectified.
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I am honoured to be part of this truly amazing, selfless and caring team. This has restored my faith in humanity 🙂