It all came down to the last sprint of the last race. A 2011 Women's Madison national title laid in the balance. Val and I timed our exchange perfectly, putting me for the final sprint with 1.5 laps to go.
I thought I had it.
I gave it everything I had left. I sprinted my legs off and came up inches short, if that.
I knew immediately. There was no question if I had won or lost. I had lost. The titled slipped through my fingers. And the next opportunity? 365 days from now.
I hung my head low, like a dog being sent to the dog house. Replaying over and over those precious final seconds in my head. Did I give it everything? Yes. Did I hesitate? No. Was I tired? Absolutely, but that didn't prevent me from giving it absolutely everything I had left.
But today, that wasn't good enough.
If you think of the greatest sporting moments, when it comes down to the wire - when there's only one winner and a loser, well that one will go down in my personal memory banks to fuel my fire in the season to come, in the long preparation to build up for next year.
In all honesty, I wonder if things were different. What if we had won it? Would I walk away from track racing? Now I'm hungrier for it than ever before. To have something so close be so close you can smell it, taste it, feel it......
Those moments are why I love sport. For all the times you fail, for all the times it stings from being so close.... those are the moments that make amazing individuals. Winning is the easy part. Losing takes more strength.