Watched the very riveting women's gymnastics last night and thought about a few randonneuring challenges as the US hopes for gold turned to silver. As I saw Alicia Sacramone teeter off on the beam at the very start of her routine, you could see every bit of anguish at what that meant for her, the team and the country. The look on her face was of such contained emotion I thought she would burst. Amazingly, she held it together as millions of people were watching her every move with cameras from all angles. She didn't break, and even after falling on the floor routine, kept it pretty together emotionally. That is the part that really stuck with me, her ability to maintain composure, however tenuous, despite what I would consider to be the most pressure a human could stand outside of combat. Bravo.
I thought back on what effects a problem or challenge in randonneuring seem to have on different folks, when numerous flats, physical ailments or simply the tiring efforts a long ride take on your mental control. Before I got to Mortagne au Perche in PBP and was beyond the time cut, I felt like I was done, but unlike Alicia I didn't have hundreds of cameras and viewers all over the world focused on my agony. I can't imagine what that was like and would rather not. What I did feel was that whatever it takes to keep focused on the goal is what matters, you can't do anything about some of the circumstances, but you do have control over how you handle the adversity. May I continue to have the fortitude to maintain when the going gets rough. There are some role models out there.