My parents and brother arrived yesteraday. They were supposed to continue to Ornans this morning, to the XCM World Championship. It all came different.
I haven’t trained for a week now and I am still sick. I took antibiotics, but until now it did not really help. On Wednesday I have a flight back home to Finland and if I still have this nasty pressure i my forehead I have to visit a specialist. Something has to be done by now.
How does it feel not being able to start in a race you have been looking forward to for a long time? A race where you want your dream to come true, a race you want to win so badly. The most difficult thing is to make the decision, to accept that a participation is not possible due to health reasons. There are many tears before you finally can say the words loud. As you have prononced the words that you are not participating it feels better. It is like a stone falling down from you chest. The chapter is closed and life can go on again.
This morning my toughts were in Ornans. I was thinking on how I would make a warm up, I was there in my thoughts as the start went off. Then I wasn’t thinking of the race anymore. The most emotional moment was the moment before the start, because an athlete has the same routines before every race. The pre race stuff has its pattern, the race not. That is why racing is so much fun.
Instead of participating in my last race we went to Hinterzarten. A small village in Black forest. We walked up to the ski jumping area and watched some youngsters train. We continued our hike in the rain and ended up in the ski musem. We met Georg Thoma, Olympic gold medalist from Squaw Valley 1960, in nordique combined. A super fit gentleman aged 75 who told us stories about his visits to Finland and several competitions he took part in back in 1960-1970.
I met Georg Thoma for the first time in 2005. Since then I have seen him every time I have been riding a Marathon in Black forest. He is a loyal spectator whenever there is a race in the area. Suddenly you see him somewhere in the forest and he has always been cheering for me as I have passed. It is impossible to miss him as there is suddenly someone shouting “Hyvä Suomi” – “Go Finland”.
I have so many good memories and I have met so many interesting persons during all these years I have been cycling competitively. These years I would never want to give away or change, but now it is time to look forward for new challenges. More about that later on.