Today was the hardest race I’d done in my life. I’d never struggled so much with a race before. Even though I didn’t even get onto the podium, having finished giving my 200% or more made me feel good, proud and gratified. I’d reached a goal I’d set a month ago: I started training and I went to that race, a year and a half after my knee operation.
I tried so hard that there was a minute when all I wanted was a downhill, since 85% of the race was uphill. In minutes my body felt weak, I had cramps so severe that I’d never had before in a race, I had falls I hardly even felt, due to the adrenaline that got me back up in seconds, with no time to feel sorry for myself. What I enjoyed the most were the two long, totally extreme downhills.
When it seemed as though I would pass out, when I no longer had any more strength, in my mind I began to tell myself things like “I know I can, I am soul and mind … my body is a complement, but my mind is in charge.” By this point I had run out of water and moisturizing gels and I no longer had it in me to rally myself, which normally encourages me. So I started thinking about all those who have supported me and who share my passion: in my uncles and aunts, in Ivan, my BMX coach, who took me to the US world championships in 2001 when I was 15, in Paul, my friend from Puerto Natales who introduced me to the world of mountain biking, in my cousin, a wonderful person who, like me, was competing in the same race, in the friends I left behind in Valdivia, in Arthurito, who showed me all the trails where I train today and infected me with his enthusiasm and taught me his strength.
Sport itself is beautiful, but the people you meet through it, makes it even more wonderful.
BY DENISSE PUSCHEL