Karen Darke: Highs and Lows

Berghaus introduction:

Karen Darke is an inspiring athlete and motivational speaker who Berghaus have supplied with outdoor clothing for many of her expeditions.  In this article Karen talks about the highs and lows of life, training and racing….

Karen Darke’s blog:

A few weekends ago, I raced across a finish line in Germany, wheel to wheel with the current World Champions female handcyclist. I’ve never been so happy about losing a race. I was 0.1 seconds closer to her than I’d ever dared to imagine.

In that race, I felt I could fly; strong, perfectly tuned, my mind so utterly in the zone that I didn’t notice the heat, the pain of the hill, the difficulty of the 180 switchback or the sharp corners. But, this week I’ve been feeling close to broken – every muscle and tendon in my shoulders screaming for reprieve, my usual natural approach to wellbeing abandoned for antibiotics and ibuprofen.

One minute, I think I can win Gold, the next I wonder why I’m bothering, how on earth I think I can do it, whether all the sacrifices are worth it.

But, I remind myself, it’s all a cycle (excuse the pun) of highs and lows; one minute we feel we can change the World, the next we feel good for nothing.

Now, I sit on a plane, on the way to another race in Belgium, and I’m reminded of the highs and lows, reading the wisdom of Howard Schultz, Starbucks main man.
“It is possible to rise, fall, and rise again, recapture lost dreams, dream bigger, and succeed in our ever-changing complex world.”

As my Paracycling team mates well know this week – total crashes in the last 3 days amounting to 6, and 3 of them involving a hospital – our journeys get tough at times; but we can come back, chase dreams of all shapes and sizes, and succeed. I know they will.

In the meantime though, ride safe, and remember those trucks and cars are bigger than we are…

  • David Quarmby

    I have read your book, and you are amazing.

  • David Quarmby

    I have read your book, and you are amazing.
    Trucks and cars do have Brakes; don’t they ?