Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge 2012

The 0.01% rule: listen to your body – more importantly listen to your heart!

479775_10151105503556507_1461167522_n-2Earlier this year I tweeted: “When the body says no and the mind says go, that is what it means to push through the pain barrier.” I’ve spoken before of when the mind takes over and the body is forced to listen and although this principle of pushing through the pain barrier in order to achieve your goals applies 99.9% of the time in professional sport. There comes a time when we need to listen to our bodies. This year’s Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge was a good example of when 0.01% rule applies.

With the London Olympic Games, the 2012 cycling season has been a very rewarding but also a very long season for me. My body has been asking me to rest for a while now, but after the 94.7 race, it demanded I do! I returned from African Continental Championships in Burkina Faso with a stomach bug, the first signs of over exhaustion. The stomach bug developed into a throat infection and after racing 94.7, I now have laryngitis, which has progressed to Bronchitis.

Lesson learnt: I should have listened to my body and should never have raced on Sunday. Being a stubborn athlete and the defending 94.7 Cycle Challenge Champion, of course I didn’t and now I’m paying the price.

On a positive note, I’m happy to have played a role in setting up my British teammate, Sharon Laws for the win! She has had a rough year being excluded from the Great Britain Olympic team, and her win on Sunday was a great way for her to end of the year and is the start of a great partnership for 2013. Sharon will be riding for my South African team, Momentum Toyota and my European team, Lotto Belisol next year. I’m very excited about next year and together I think we will achieve great things. I finished 4th on Sunday.

Learning to make the distinction between pushing through the pain barrier 99.9% of the time and protecting the body from irreversible damage 0.01% of the time is not easy. The mind is incredibly powerful, more powerful than any muscle in the body, and I can clearly remember the moment when I was forced to make the split second decision to defy my instinct and listen to my body.

The moment when Sharon attacked, my mind said: “go with her.” But this time my body said: “ABSOLUTLEY NO!”

The decision to listen to my body has been bugging me for the past few days because at first glance, it appears to be a sign of weakness. But after giving it some thought it all makes sense now. It’s like my heart was telling me to look after my future!

Now’s time for a much-needed break from cycling and I look forward to the 2013 season with Sharon, my Momentum Toyota and Lotto Belisol teams.

A big thanks to everyone who has followed and supported my career this year!

I dedicate 2012 to my loyal fans and supporters. Without every one of you; living my passion and pursuing my dreams would not be possible! From the bottom of my heart I thank you all for every message, every comment, every ‘like’, every tweet and most of all, for following my results and watching my racing!

Onwards and upwards 🙂

3 thoughts on “Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge 2012

  1. Andy Wilkinson

    Strong looking team.
    As a brit i’m looking forward to watching Sharon’s 2013 season.I reckon she’s a great break away rider and can be very strong in helping a team mate go for the win.
    Good luck in 2013


  2. F. Mariam

    Dear Ashleigh,

    I know this is off-topic, but, as the unofficial honoray African Ambassador that you are, I, on behalf of Eritrean cycling fans that knew Burry Stander, would like you to please pass our deepest condolonses to the family of the fallen cycling hero. This is a very sad day to cycling, African cycling, South African cycling and Burry Stander’s team. Our heart goes out to his family & friends. May God bless his soul.



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