My Story

Reflections from a trip home to Ireland!

Home... and it feels so good!

I’m back home in Ireland now and feeling so relaxed. I always get this peaceful feeling when I’m home. Picking up my Skoda, stopping at Junction 14 for a coffee and enjoying the beautiful views along the N7 home to Clare just makes me so happy to be from Ireland!

While I’m home, I have some pretty big decisions to make. I have an offer from a team for next year. It should be so obvious to me to just jump at the opportunity. But in the last couple of months, I started falling a bit out of love with cycling and began to feel very disenchanted. I entered this team with such high hopes and so eager to impress. Everybody knows the team, and the calibre of the riders within it, and I went in there laden down with imposter syndrome yet so excited to explore my potential. Knowing I have not impressed the very people I looked up to, both riders and management, is a real kick in the teeth. It sucks that they believed my contract would not result in any return on investment in terms of results or publicity.

But that’s professional sport. It’s cut-throat and it’s business and you can’t expect any charity! The inevitable thing about giving someone else the power to judge you and being so keen to impress is that you can’t help but feel your self-worth diminish when those very people don’t see the potential within you. There’s a phrase I feel encapsulates this pretty well, although it is generally reserved for romantic relationships: ‘How empty of me to be so full of you’. That’s how I feel right now; a bit empty, and like I have given another entity (cycling) a lot of power to dictate my self-perception.

Which leads to my hesitation to sign this new contract. I’ve spent the last two years trying to prove myself constantly, and always feeling like I was falling short. Of course, it was an amazing achievement to come back on the bike at all after the huge accident and multiple surgeries I had, but just how exceptional that is has been overshadowed by my non-stop striving to show my worth. I’ve barely taken the time to look back and be proud of myself. Moving forward, I want to make sure that I’m in an environment where I feel appreciated. Off-season is coming in the next few days and to be honest, the mental break is needed more than the physical. I know I’ve reached burnout point when I am struggling to just get out the door for training, and that’s the stage I’m at right now. Roll on some lazy days, some city breaks, and a few glasses of wine 😊 I know by the time November rolls around I’ll be itching to get back outside on my bike!

In a way, this period of my life feels uncertain and a bit scary, and I keep wishing someone could get a crystal ball and tell me where I’ll be and what I’ll be doing in 12 months time. But in another way, it is really exciting. I could think ‘what’s going to happen – will I fail within cycling, will I sign this contract with a new team, would I be happy without a professional cycling contract to fulfil me’ OR I could think ‘what’s going to happen – what adventures are going to open up to me and what amazing opportunities are going to come my way’. It’s taken alot of ‘inner work’ to get to the latter mindset of just being totally open to opportunity and not attaching myself too much to any particular outcome. Once you’re there, life seems exciting! I don’t feel ‘done’ with cycling yet, and I’m almost certain I will sign the contract for next year, but being home is certainly giving me the mental clarity to discuss it with the people who love me, without having the stresses of everyday life weighing me down.

Thanks for reading and supporting!

Lots of love,

Imogen x