Edmondston will do things with its “values intact”
Holly Edmondston’s journey has been anything but easy. The St Kevin’s College alumnus speaks to Kayla Hodge about the volatile aftermath of the Tokyo Olympics, getting back on the bike, prioritizing her happiness, and doing things her own way.
Holly Edmondston has revitalized energy. After back injuries, endometriosis surgeries and pushing herself mentally and physically over the edge to get to the Tokyo Olympics last year, cyclist Waimate likes to prioritize her happiness and do the things his way now.
And his new mindset played a part in his success in the recent national time trial. After a nearly six-month hiatus from professional cycling, Edmondston was “shocked” to finish third, having entered the race with no expectations.
“I just don’t know how I got out of it,” Edmondston said.
Edmondston has decided to prioritize his health and happiness, instead of putting pressure on himself at every competition. After earning a bronze medal, she knew her new approach was working.
”It’s just like another little stepping stone that helps me understand. . .I do things right.”
Life after the Olympics had been “volatile,” she said.
Edmondston – who placed eighth in the team pursuit and 10th in the omnium – said the preparation in Tokyo was five years of crawling, pain and suffering, with some good times and a lot of bad times.
After the Olympics, she took time to reevaluate her life and understand what was important. Although he was told to start training again “long, long, long” ago, his head and body told him no.
She wanted to follow her heart and naturally make a decision about her future, without outside pressure. Eventually, she decided she wasn’t ready to go through another build up to a peak event like the one in Tokyo.
”But I want to be a cyclist and I want to try it my way.
”I’m a lot behind the [other cyclists] in terms of fitness, but I think in terms of happiness and direction and self-reliance, I think I’m really, really high now. It’s something you can’t just achieve, it had to happen the hard way. ”
She returned home to Waimate for Christmas, went on ‘epic’ mountain bike rides around the South Island with her boyfriend, Mark Hazelton, and the couple moved into their new home in Cambridge.
It gave her the opportunity to ‘push the reset button’ and she was happy to finally have somewhere to call after having moved 13 times in eight years.
“I had this tremendous feeling of relief, pride and happiness. For once, just to have a place of my own.
”I think it’s been a really huge struggle in the last eight years that I’ve been here, just like any family around me, still moving. . . it was a huge change for me personally and I know I’m pretty lucky in that regard.
Another change came in the form of a new cycling mentor – Jim McMurray.
McMurray, the world masters cycling champion, contacted Edmondston to check on her after the Olympics. When Edmondston told her she was struggling and had to part ways with Cycling New Zealand to learn to ride again, they teamed up.
They had been working together for a month and it had been a “huge change” in her life.
“I think that’s a key message – if you don’t feel comfortable in an environment or if you feel you need to change something, don’t be afraid to do it.”
Over the next few months, Edmondston will focus on her mental health, do things that make her happy, and spend more time with her friends.
The sudden death of her friend, New Zealand cyclist Olivia Podmore, last year had a profound effect on Edmondston, giving a new perspective on what was important.
”That shocked me [mindset] like, “Holy shit”. . . the bike isn’t it, it doesn’t even matter.
She made a conscious effort to look out for her friends because building relationships was far more important than being fit, she said.
On the track, she is determined not to pressure herself or be weighed down by the expectations of others.
“You put so much pressure on that one thing to get you up that’s not going to happen because nine times out of 10 you’re not going to win.
”For me, it’s about re-prioritizing what’s most important in a race. . .to get there happy in the first place, so when you get there or you don’t, that’s not the end of it all, because that’s exactly what happened at the Tokyo Olympics.’ ‘
Another banner year was shaping up for Edmondston, which had its first track session since the Olympics last week.
In May, she will compete in the International Cycling Union World Cup in Canada, then in the Tour of America’s Dairyland.
This year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham are “on the horizon” and her eventual goal was to qualify for the Paris Olympics in 2024, she said.
But she was determined to get there on her own terms.
“I don’t want to sit there like I did in Tokyo and be like, ‘S***, was it worth this pain and suffering?’.
“I want to go anywhere in the future doing it with my values intact.”