Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Bitter sweet

I have wanted to sit down and write for a few days now, but never have had the right time. I have to admit, I've been suffering from Olympic fever these past two weeks. Now they are done and I'll have two weeks to kill until the real events in Rio begin.

I met a lot people this past Sunday, and I shook a lot of hands. It was the Goderich Triathlon and this year I was able to get there. Obviously I was not participating, but I was able to soak in the excitement and cheer on and congratulate some friends. It was too early of a start time for me to see the racers off, but as I was driving I started to encounter cyclists just coming into Auburn.

Congratulating an old (and somewhat sweaty) friend. 

The closer I got to Goderich, the more cyclists I encountered. It was a very profound feeling, seeing so many people on bikes in the exact same stretch of road where my collision occurred. I had to really concentrate on my driving.

Seeing all these cyclists tells me that people are not afraid to ride in Huron County. I got that same feeling as I drove down the hill to the beach and into the parking area. I was surrounded by cars with I Share the Road bumper stickers. Now, these are "my people" so it should not be surprising to see so many bumper stickers, but even still, it felt good. It means that the message getting around. 

Speaking of messages getting around, I met a lot of you, people who are reading what I write. I want to thank you. For reading, for caring and for stopping to introduce yourself to me. I often wonder who you are, and why you read. I hope you continue to be inspired. 

I was glad to give a hand while I was there Sunday. Pam, Miah and Stacy wanted me to watch and enjoy, but I needed to feel useful. So I found a few jobs, but my favourite was being able to hand out the medals. It was tricky for me to do as I don't have enough core muscle strength to have both hands out in front of my body (in order to put a medal over another person's head) so I had to do it one-handed. Some people receiving medals caught on to this and helped, others didn't and just took their medal from my hand. Oh well, I tried! But the most fun was giving medals to my friends, even though it was hard. Hard because I should have been there alongside them. It brings tears even as I write this now. Maybe that is why I found getting this post started so difficult.

Medal ceremony

In fact, I had mixed feelings about going at all, but I am glad I did. I was there on my own so I had to manage the wheelchair bathroom at the beach alone. It worked out fine (except for the ridiculously heavy door that has no button so I had to ask for help). Being there, at the bottom of the hill, also made me think about how on Earth I would ever be able to do that course with a handbike. The other reason I am glad I went was that I got to see all of my friends. People I used to train and race with, and my new silent friends, you who read. Thanks for the handshakes and the hugs.

And thanks to Pam, Miah, Stacy, Erin, Chris and Trisha for my new favourite t-shirt :)

My new favourite t-shirt :)


  1. As a fellow blogger, I truly enjoy your posts. It takes courage to publicize your journey and share it with the world. It also takes courage to show up at an event that you should be participating in, rather than observing. It would be easier I'm sure to just pretend like it's not happening without you and ignore it. You are the definition of inspiration and I am reminded of it every time I see your posts.

  2. Must have been a very 'rich' day for you emotionally. So glad you were able to take part! (Beautiful pic, BTW)

  3. Hey! I love this post. You speak for many despite your unique situation being, well, just that--unique. Life can change in a moment. Things that were possible before become impossible. It makes me completely thrilled--or perhaps inspired--that you're even thinking about competing with your hand bike.

  4. Part of the reason I read is that it is good writing!

  5. Julie, I was one of the athletes who introduced themselves to you after the race on Sunday. And I also have one of the I Share the Road magnets on my van. :) I included our short encounter in my race report, if you'd like to read it: https://kyraonthego.wordpress.com/2016/08/25/race-report-goderich-olympic-triathlon-read-duathlon-7-foot-swells-and-a-new-pb/ I read because what happened to you could happen to any one of us, and you write about your struggles so well. You are very inspiring!