When life gets flipped over, and over again…

When Life Gets Flipped Over, And Over Again…
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When life gets flipped over, and over again…

After the notice that my last team, Virtu, was closing down after the 2019 season I walked towards a pretty uncertain future. I was searching for teams all throughout the season but by the end of September I still had had no luck and I started to consider the alternative to put my race bike aside. I had a feeling that if I couldn’t race my bike on the top level I didn’t want to race at all. My all or nothing-mentality came into place and after looking in all corners of the cycling world I settled in for a post-cycling life. 2019 was coming to an end and I had already started to conclude my career as a professional cyclist. Then DS Bob called just before Christmas. 

I had had previous contact with him and DROPS but got the answer, twice, there was no spot left for me for the 2020 season. Although as most of you know, unplanned things always happen and one girl had a bad injury and suddenly there was room for me! I had to make a quick decision and talked to my family, bounced my thoughts around in my own head and decided that I wanted to continue. After all that’s what I was set out to do in the first place, I just got stopped by the fact I had no team to continue in. Now I had and I said yes and picked up my bike again. 

Honestly, I think I really needed a proper mental break from cycling during those winter months, just training what I felt like and took a lot of performance-stress off my back. When I got back in the saddle in the beginning of January I was super motivated and excited for this opportunity. As I mentioned I’m an all- or nothing personality and I really went ALL IN to be in decent shape when meeting the team in February. From literally no cycling during the winter to doing 65h over 2,5 weeks at my own January camp. I’ve never had such a punch-in-the-face massive block! 

It seems my body just adapted to the circumstances and it could not have gone better I think. Meeting the team in Cambrils in February I was amazed by such a positive attitude from everyone that it just made me fall in love with cycling once more. This really is a team sport and the chance I got to be sort of “the mama” of the team (both age and experience wise) made me both proud and very motivated. Proud by the fact I felt I had something I could give and motivated to do so and help the team develop in many ways. 

Already before I knew I was racing another year I felt I had nothing to prove to either myself or anyone else, I was happy with what I’d accomplished and could walk with my head high. With this unexpected opportunity I still feel I have nothing to prove, which gives me great calm in everything I do but also a great chance to focus on those around me and an eager to do my best for everyone’s sake. I will probably never stop to challenge myself and always want to do 110% but I just feel another type of calm about it all this year. A lot of it I think is the environment, the people and also my own effort put in to a lot of mental work around cycling and life in general these past years. Happy heart, fast legs. 

As all of you are aware of, Corona has put us all on pause in a lot of different ways. I’m trying to deal with it on a day-to-day basis. As the future in so uncertain the best thing for me is just making the most of each day and cut my focus a bit shorter. On one hand I’m really guttered since I just felt I’d gotten into cycling in a new, really positive and exciting manner again. On the other hand, bike racing is a very small part of the whole society and it’s wiser and more productive to think of the things we can do instead of the ones we cannot control these days. I’d like to think in the way we do in DROPS; positive, flexible and help each other where you can. Take care out there, stay safe and I hope to see you on the roads sometime in the not too far future.

Love from Sweden,

Sara Penton.

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