Peloton Watch
  Macey Stewart: Invaluable Lessons  
  February 21st By Macey Stewart  
  Macey Stewart after winning the points race at the 2014 Australian National Championships.  
  Here I am, attempting to get my thoughts down on paper for the 100th time in the last few months, to give you some insight into my life, and cycling journey at the moment. This blog was always going to be the hardest. The first one since my dads passing and to be honest I have really struggled to put it into words that I'm happy with, but here goes!

My year away from professional cycling (explained in my last blog) was the toughest year of my life so far, but one where I learnt many invaluable lessons.

I always knew I would return to cycling one day, and as I watched dad fight the greatest battle of all I realised life wasn't waiting for me to be ready. Since I was having a break from cycling at the time and had left my job to spend time with dad, when he passed away I had a clean slate to do whatever I wanted and a fresh start.

The two biggest lessons I learnt from this adversity is that we are all SO much stronger than we think, and life is WAY too short not to be the best we can be every single day.

My dad was the bravest and most inspiring person I have ever seen. He never once complained that he was going to die. He would rate his pain a 2/10 when he was in so much pain he could hardly move. I realised that if he can push through that and be so brave, I can easily get through any physical pain or mental struggle that professional cycling brings. I realised that when I'm 50 years old I don't want to look back with regret about what could have been. No matter what job or path I take it's going to be bloody hard sometimes, but that is just life! I know what I am capable of as a person, and as a cyclist, and I don't want to waste that.

So after everything, I decided to give cycling another crack. I sat down with my coach Matt and planned out the next few months. I had already committed to a few new adventures including a music festival, a photo shoot in Taiwan and a snow trip to Canada, so we decided that I would ease back into it, training when I could around having fun and ticking off some bucket list items while I had the chance.

I knew that when I returned home from Canada on the 2nd of February I would commit to becoming the best elite athlete I could be. This allowed me to really enjoy myself for once, without feeling guilty, knowing I had until this date to get it all out of my system.

I returned home from Canada and have been training harder than ever over the last few weeks. I have never truly been a professional athlete. I've never had a proper diet or sleeping pattern or recovery technique or gym block, and I know that by committing to every aspect of being a professional and doing it 100% right for once, I am capable of being a better athlete than I have ever been before.

My first race back will be at the Australian National Track Championships in Brisbane in a week's time. I felt I wasn't ready to compete on the track that soon (as there is nowhere to hide) but my coach convinced me that I can't be afraid of it, I need to push through it head on so that I am able to grow and get a clear indication of how far I have to go. I'm definitely no superwoman, so I'm going to have to manage my expectations a lot coming into racing. I may not be the Macey Stewart that I (and everyone else) remember at the moment but I have faith she will return!

It's a very long road ahead for me getting back to where I need to be, but I have never been so motivated and mentally ready to fight back. I've realized that it's a few years out of my whole life, a few years of extremely hard work to achieve something I can be proud of for the rest of my life. I promised dad I would do everything I could to be the best Macey I could be, and being a fit, healthy, elite athlete with goals is how I plan to start.

Nationals are the 2nd – 5th of March at the new Anna Meares Velodrome in Brisbane! If you're around you should come and support us! Tickets can be purchased here.
 © 2016