The Story Behind The Win

To the distant onlooker, Tim Guy's win at 'Le Tour De Filipinas' may have appeared as just another day at the office where luck fell on his side. This couldn't be further from the truth. For Tim, riding for the Attaque Team Gusto Cycling, the victory was the culmination of more than just hard work on the bike...

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"It was a plague of stress, a never ending fog that could not seem to be chased away. The Black Dog was constantly nipping at my heels, threatening to take me down for good.

In 2013, after arriving home from work, I would swap my road bike for my mountain bike and disappear into the forest. 

I was too anxious to do any more than the 10km home on my roadie. Anxiety didn't leave me on the mountain bike either, it never left me, but it was not quite as paralysing. Somewhere deep inside, I knew I wanted to race again.

The Black Dog made me question what I wanted with unprecedented regularity. However, with the support of my coach Mark Windsor and my psychologist, I have confronted the anxiety, day in and day out for over 3 years and slowly, I was able to transition back into road cycling.

If it sounds heroic, but don't be fooled - there are thousands of people who make the same choice to just "fight one more day" every single day.

I didn't do it so I could win races, I didn't believe I'd ever get back to racing at an international level, let alone winning a stage. 

I left the sport in 2009 at the age of 19 believing it was the cause of the anxiety and depression that had taken hold of me. It took four years to realise that this despondency followed me everywhere and was not caused by cycling. I returned to the sport because anxiety was lying to me, telling me nothing held value, purpose or hope. I returned to fight the anxiety and allow something I had once loved to have some part in my life again. 

Now here we are, I've won a stage of an international race and what am I to say? That anxiety is gone, I have no more depression and every day is great? No, it's not gone, it's still a battle, a daily one. Although it's not gone, I am learning to manage it. Cycling has become a way of helping me understand the illness, understand myself and learn to live alongside it.

What does winning mean? Well, it doesn't make the fight worthwhile. Learning to manage mental illness is worthwhile in and of itself. It doesn't mean the story is finished either; there is far more to learn and many more panic ridden days to be faced. What it does mean though, is that progress can be made and should be celebrated. It does mean that the depth of despair that might be crushing you and convincing you there is no light can be managed more effectively.

Give it time, find help and win the race that's really worth it..."

Tim Guy.

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