If I cast my mind back to around seven years ago, I recall making my first London commute, hauling a heavy mountain bike across rush hour traffic to my workplace a mere three miles away. Upon arrival, red-faced and panting, I dashed to the toilet where I promptly threw up from the gargantuan effort of getting my derrière from A to B.
Fast forward to 2013 and I stand (fully cleated) before you a passionate and enthusaistic road cyclist, hours spent daydreaming of chasing down the hairpins of European roads, cultivating tan lines that would alarm any non-cyclist and riding whenever I can. Now I find my monthly hours spent in the saddle sit around 50-60, riding anything up to 200km purely for pleasure. The Rapha Women’s 100 represents an amazing opportunity. I’ve been fortunate enough to be invited to ride with 99 other women and push myself with the aim of completing the Etape du Tour. And hopefully I can help to inspire other ladies along the way and build a solid foundation of enjoyable and realistic training.
Motivation and inspiration for my riding comes from seeing female professional riders push themselves racing, often for a criminally small portion of accolades and financial rewards compared with their male counterparts. Yet despite this inequality, these ladies are still out kicking the proverbial, be it juddering up the cobbled climbs in Belgium, or drilling unabating ascents in the Dolomites. You want to learn the definition of consummate and hard-working athletes? Look up the legend that is Marianne Vos, or Emma Johansson, Evelyn Stevens and Lizzie Armitstead.
A winter base helped in no small part by the recent Festive 500 Challenge and a looming late-April date with the start line of the Liege-Bastogne-Liege sportive should hopefully springboard my legs into spring fitness. l’m looking forward to meeting other like-minded women on some of the proposed regular rides departing from Rapha’s London Cycle Club HQ (keep your eyes peeled for dates). To pedal over the same roads on which so many of cycling’s great stories have unfolded, especially in this year of the 100th Tour de France, is something truly unique and special. I look forward to sharing my journey and hopefully seeing you out on the road.