At the outset of the Franschhoek 500, as cyclists traversed the majestic Front Yard Pass, thoughts danced in the minds of riders. These events, spanning hours—sometimes days—set the stage for tales of resilience to unfold, showcasing the fortitude of those who dare to pedal these untamed paths.
Meet Georgina: a wife, a mother of two teenage girls, and a valiant adventurer. Her journey took an unexpected turn in July when she received a stage 1 spinal cancer diagnosis. 'Your life suddenly changes in a moment… it really was a single moment that changed everything along with a flooding whirlpool of emotions.'
'We have all heard stories about cancer patients – some good, some bad. The question for me – was my story going to be a shadow story or a life story?' Encouragement from Georgina’s medical team resonated deeply, urging her to embrace life’s joys: 'Get on that bicycle or go for that swim.'
The Franschhoek 500, a gruelling cycling event, became the stage for her unwavering spirit. Contemplating this life-altering event during the hours-long rides allowed her to ponder the gravity of the situation. 'When you sit for about 500km, you have time to just sit and think about it,' she shared.
Georgina pondered the impact of one's mental state on surviving a challenging ordeal like cancer. 'There is a lot to be said for being optimistic.' Her words reflected the power of choice—opting to indulge in life's treasures: 'I want to indulge in the love of life, nature, exercise—the endorphins that go with that.'
During the Franschhoek 500 journey, a myriad of challenges emerges, from steep gradients to raging headwinds, alongside the delicate management of team dynamics. Insightful perspectives reminded her not to take life too seriously. Georgina, embodying this wisdom, embraced joy amidst adversity.
The real test arose when her ride tracker encountered an issue, leading to confusion among two riders. Georgina's reaction was nothing short of remarkable—solution-focused, calm, and supportive. In the face of adversity, she embodied the true spirit of the cycling community.
While Georgina embodied resilience, another rider reacted differently to the tracker mishap, causing disruption. Recognizing the importance of unity and respect within the cycling ethos, Georgina gently advised this rider against participating.
Georgina's journey serves as a reminder that life's trials come in diverse forms. Her composed and supportive demeanor amidst confusion showcased her strength. It's not about the obstacles we face but how we navigate through them.
Acknowledging the weight of the news on oneself and loved ones, she emphasized, 'You have to manage it and keep living with it every day—so it's a choice every day with how to show up for yourself.'
In her battle with spinal cancer, Georgina discovered a profound truth—sometimes, to truly live, we must metaphorically 'die' and learn to love and give to others. Her journey became a testament to facing adversity with grace and resilience.
Her story resonates within the cycling community, inspiring others to approach life's challenges with determination, camaraderie, and an appreciation for joy even in the toughest rides. As Georgina continues, she remains a testament to the unyielding spirit defining the cycling community—an ethos that surpasses pedals, embracing life's uphill battles with courage and grace.
To Georgina and her family, our warmest wishes and blessings. She's more than an inspiration; she's a guiding light for every cyclist out there. Her story reverberates through the hills and valleys, urging us to embrace life's journey, bumps, and all.
January 8, 2024