The hour between 5.30 -6.30 was one of the fastest hours of my life, lap by lap, watching the stopwatch, comparing lap times and to Hourof Power Woman’s body language, wondering what the hell was going through her head for those 60 minutes. All I can say was that it was very emotional sharing the final hour of Liz’s journey with her, and I was choked up with a tear in my eye for the bell lap: Coach DJ laughed when I said I think I am going to cry as she crossed the finish line.
151 laps. 3 laps off the target, but an incredibly strong effort nonetheless. 3 minutes at race pace is bad enough, so multiply that by 20 and perhaps you might glimmer what it could possibly mean to ride for an hour. I am still trying to get my brain around it, and even begin to understand why you would possibly want to. Coach DJ and I watched each lap, discussing where we thought she was at, what coaching should be offered (ie focus, steady your body, dig in, don’t bloody well give up!!!, how are you feeling?). Failure to finish was not on the agenda for any of us and when HoPW began to cramp, and swung up high to use the boards to keep up momentum, I thought she was losing it. I am not one to scream out, but that’s exactly what I did – across the infield during a well-timed lull in the music. Two precarious laps and she was back into a rhythm, driving along to gain back some precious time. The final 10 minutes were brilliant, with faster lap times, bucket loads of guts and determination.
The grandstand was loud and incredibly supportive, and the atmosphere was superb – lots of anticipation, lots of support and encouragement, with everyone well and truly behind HoPW. I noticed the difference between HoPW’s ride and Shirley Amy’s ride in terms of the atmosphere: the music and slightly larger, noisier crowd just lifted the place. The bell lap was something special, and I gave Liz my own little standing ovation on the back straight.
So it’s over, with that lull now before starting all over again for the old girl. Apparently she wants another crack at it, announcing this fact just after “giving birth” the first time! Most people would wait and think about it, but then, I thought the same thing after my first nausea-inducing, black-out threatening pursuit. Admittedly, I was surprised that HoPW was so chipper and spritely after her ride: no dribble, no vomit buckets, no quiet lie downs, but the delirium showed with that comment….
Liz, your legend status just scored some more gold stars. Congratulations on an awesome ride. I'm very proud of you, and your ride.