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Team Blog: Going with the Flow, Jo Rowell

Posted on April 26 2016

Jo and Darryl in Derby.

Setting goals and plans are all well and good but sometimes life throws you a curve ball and you just have to go with the flow.

This was my experience over the past few months.

Everything was on target, life was ticking along and my training-work-family balance was in sync … But then it wasn't. Frustrating, as this can be one thing I've learned, as I get older is to tune into your body. If you listen and are open-minded, opportunities arise and you simply change your path and go with the flow.

When my plan to race the MTBA XCO Nationals in Bright mid March didn't look like the right choice and I needed to rediscover my love of mountain biking, I decided to stick with my plan to fly to Melbourne but instead of driving to Bright, I headed to Mt Buller.  This turned out to be just what I needed. The single track at Mt Buller really is world class, the scenery magical and my adventurous spirit and joy of mountain biking was re-ignited.

World class mushrooms at Derby. Don't lick them!

Recharged and smiling again I headed to Derby, Tasmania for the MTBA XCM National Marathon champs. Excited to race. The Blue Derby trails lived up to the superlatives I'd read. As always at a national championship the caliber of the competitors is high, no matter what category you race. I'm a bit of a slow-Jo, it takes me a while to get going, but my endurance is strong, so I play catch up as the race progresses. Unfortunately this strategy was flawed in Derby. Descending the new Atlas trail, during the first 25 km of the race, working my way through a rock garden, I managed to take a chunk out of my tyre and heard the dreaded woosh as air escaped, and my race aspirations deflated.

Thoughts about just quitting and walking out of the track crossed my mind… But I had all the gear to fix my tyre, albeit a tad slowly, the track was so much fun to ride and I hadn’t come all the way to Tasmania to DNF. I finally fixed my tyre, “Oh why I am so slow at this!”  I'm rolling again but my head space changed from race mode to - let's just go with the flow and enjoy the trails. I passed through transition over 30 minutes behind the race leaders, to be greeted by a relieved husband, who'd thought I'd crashed! and headed out on the second lap and finished the race. Amazingly I passed a few women too :-)

For the next few days we enjoyed a mini holiday in Derby. So got to explore more of the Blue Derby trails and other scenery around Derby.  Usually after a hard marathon race I'm pretty pooped and can't ride very well. But these few days in Derby were great. I felt fresh and ready to ride and ride. I had intended to take a chunk of time off from racing after the XCM Nationals but I stumbled upon another XCM The Golden Triangle Epic race in Bendigo, VIC the following weekend.

You know how sometimes in life everything falls into place and you just know the path to follow. Well this is what happened the weekend after the Nationals. Flights, accommodation, bike (with new tyres!) - check, plus the added bonus of an equally crazy travelling companion, Anna Beck, and Friday morning we arrived in Bendigo. Course reccie done and final preparations completed and on Saturday morning we lined up to race The Golden Triangle Epic, a 100km, mostly single track, marathon. Following the flow of life and seizing the opportunities presented we both achieved our goals. No mechanicals, great weather and just the usual challenges facing anyone racing a long race: Pacing, nutrition, hydration and positive thoughts.

Jo railing at the GTE: Fresh kit and fresh outlook

So when life throws you some ups and downs – try and be positive and just go with the flow it could turn out to be the best path to follow.

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