“In this fantastic night
That everything seems possible
While climbing in the sky
A desire invincible
That leaves a trail” … Jovannotti
by Anna Mei,
It was a special moment in my life, a time in which I would endeavor to attempt a record in which no one in the world had ever tried. Similarly, I would also give voice to the ” butterfly children ” so that others would understand the suffering that they endure daily fighting the disease Epidermolysis Bullosa , an incurable illness that causes their skin to become as fragile as the wings of butterflies.
The days leading up to an event are always filled with tension, fear, desire, and endless dreams. Even so, I firmly believed in my heart that throughout a very long night that it would be possible to reach a record, even just one, so I shared my desire, my dreams and wished for an invincible force .
So on December 6, 2013 I launched onto the Montichiari Velodrome indoor track with an invincible desire, an infinite force took hold and the tension began to subside with every peddle stroke. The ” butterfly children ” saw me off at the start which gave so much confidence with their big smiles. It also brought the great responsibility of sharing the word of their struggles beyond where their voices may be heard.
The first six hours my bike went faster on average , perhaps because the engine that drove it was too tight , the head was not free to fly and the stomach proved unwilling to eat with serenity. I am a positive person that believes that it is possible to achieve a balance that can make us live in complete harmony, even on a bike. So after those first six hours I began a focused search for my inner balance by canceling all external elements , closing my eyes and my consciousness only to the feelings that came from every cell of my body. I was fine in no time, I was confident in my training. I had often dreamed of success and had waited so very long for this moment. It was my time….
So I started to feel light-hearted, to smile, to feel an immense pleasure to ride with a butterfly on my shoulder. I was flying with them, for them, along a loop of 250 meters which seemed to never end. Approaching 12 hours I struggled and gritted my teeth to recover the time that I had lost in the first six hours due to a stomach discomfort which prevented me from eating. Unfortunately the outdoor 12 hour record that I wanted to beat was missed by only 400 meters, but my speed was still high so I continued on with no problem, except for a fall during a passage of the bottle from my husband who was supporting me in this adventure.
As I approached the 24 hour mark, my speed had given me such an advantage over the outdoor 24 hour record that I was truly able to enjoy counting down each and every single meter leading up to this point in the attempt. The legs strong and firm. The heart peaceful and happy. Feelings and emotions, both positive and intense, accompanied me to 24 hours beautifully. On the saddle I did not even realize that I had been going in circles for so long. I had been locked up in a wonderful world in which I met the ” butterfly children ” and their joy, yes, their joy, not suffering. I saw them smile, shout for joy and run happy, just like me.
I broke the 24 hour record about an hour before the time had expired and had 60 minutes left to add additional distance. So, after a brief celebration on the bike, I started once again to push with force to try to get the widest possible distance from the previous year’s outdoor record. The record was passed by 20 km …
The immense joy of achieving the 24 hour record gave me the strength to continue forward in pursuit of the real big goal, the 1000 kilometers title. As I started I felt relaxed as I did some deep breathing and found myself reciting the Hail Mary and singing to Jovanotti. “I’ll take you away with me ! In this fantastic night.” It was the second night and I began having difficulty eating and once again my stomach rebel had taken over. So after 32 hours and 900 km on the bike I was forced to abandon the pursuit of the 1000 km record. My body was empty of liquid, nutrition and of any remaining physical strength. At this point I didn’t mind, I was quiet and serene, but unfortunately the weakness was such that it was hard to even stand up. That’s why I gave up on without particular concern or a sense of defeat : the yield sometimes is the real victory.
My body is the instrument that God has given me, and with these legs that I will still give voice to the ” butterfly children.” Listening to him, I decided to stop and I realized that he will give me another chance to try again in the near future. The 900 km effort has given me great strength and the awareness. The feeling of having done so much quickly turns into a feeling that the 1000 km is absolutely attainable and a desire to see the hope and smiles of the ‘butterfly children” once more.
It was a special moment and people will no longer need to ask when I’m out on the road, what is the butterfly which I have on the jersey. They will now recognize the logo and shout : Anna force, do not give up! We’re with you, we are with you! We are with the ” butterfly children ” !
Results – 5 indoor world record : 100 miles , 200 miles , 12 and 24 hours. Absolute: 24 hours!
100 Mile Indoor Track Records
|6 Dec 2013||Anna Mei (46) Piantedo, Italy||Fabio Vedana, Gabriele Fortin, Pergola Dario||standard||Fassa Bortolo Indoor Track, Montichiari, Italy||5:48:25.500||20.8|
200 Mile Indoor Track Records
|6 Dec 2013||Anna Mei (46) Piantedo, Italy||Fabio Vedana, Gabriele Fortin, Pergola Dario||standard||Fassa Bortolo Indoor Track, Montichiari, Italy||9:52:34.983||20.25|
12 Hour Indoor Track Record
|6 Dec 2013||Anna Mei (46), Piantedo, Italy||Officials: Fabio Vedana, Gabriele Fortin, Pergola DarioCrew: Rosi Stefania, Fontana Giusepe, Bianchi Mordini||standard||women 18-49||solo||Fassa Bortolo Indoor Track, Montichiari, Italy||243 miles, 1294 feet||243.245||20.2|
24 Hour Indoor Track Records
|6 Dec 2013||Anna Mei (46), Piantedo, Italy||Officials: Fabio Vedana, Gabriele Fortin, Pergola DarioCrew: Rosi Stefania, Fontana Giusepe, Bianchi Mordini||standard||women 18-49||solo||Fassa Bortolo Indoor Track, Montichiari, Italy||459 miles, 559 ft||459.11||19.13|
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