On 17 July 2016 thousands of women across the globe will ride the Rapha Women’s 100. Ahead of the event we asked Rapha Ambassadors Kelly Krause and Gem Atkinson to discuss the highs and the lows that come with being a cyclist and what drives them to keep riding…
I had a pretty unhealthy lifestyle until two years ago but then I fell in love with spin classes and ended up losing a lot of weight (over 100lbs/45Kg). From there life started to really change – a friend got me on a road bike and I committed to doing a 150-mile charity ride over two days. I bought a bike and I immediately fell in love with cycling. (Kelly Krause)
In finding cycling I’ve found a community that has enriched and touched upon every aspect of my life. There’s this amazing good side to it all – it builds my confidence and I find it empowering. (Gem Atkinson)
I would be in denial if I said I didn’t have days when I felt inadequate on the bike but if you get hold of that feeling and turn it around, it can actually motivate you to keep riding. (KK)
My riding is a counterbalance to my life; it tips the scales so I’m able to kind of feel at equilibrium but when it gets competitive I still can’t shake the feeling that I’m not quite good enough. I wonder why not? (GA)
I’ve never been happier than when I’m on the bike. I feel strong and confident, even when I’m dropped or at the back of the pack. It’s much more to me than fitness. I think it helps other women to see me – I’m not a stick-thin gal – slogging up a climb and having fun. (KK)
I suffer a lot and sometimes it feels that everyone is faster and stronger. The struggle is finding the motivation to come back and try it again but I do it anyway because I know it’s the only way I will get better. (GA)
Half of my cycling insecurities are constructs that I’ve made up in my head. But for some reason I only ever work this out after the event. (KK)
The shiniest diamonds can only be made with pressure; after a hard ride or race I take time to reflect on that. (GA)
Everyone has to push through the pain – when I sit on the start line of a race and all I can see are faster, younger, more talented riders it’s tough, and that’s when the doubt sets in. But when you realise that everyone is hurting it suddenly gets a bit easier. (GA)
It’s easy to tell yourself that you can’t do it. When you know that you’re about to ride further and harder than you’ve ever ridden before you can to turn around and say ‘I’m not ready’. But is there really a perfect time? Isn’t now a perfect time? (KK)
Bad weather sucks on a bike. Headwinds are horrible but tell me, has a headwind ever really beaten you? (GA)
Kelly Krause is a publicist, cyclist, fashion-enthusiast and writer living in Austin, TX, USA. Over the past 5 years, she’s run Publicity and Media Relations for SXSW Interactive. Kelly is a proud ambassador for Rapha and USA Cycling and writes a monthly column for Camille Styles.com called Living Kindly, sharing her journey in fitness and well-being. In 2014, she made Marie Claire’s Most Connected Women in America “New Guard” list and was honored as a Person of the Year in Tribeza Magazine.
Gem Atkinson is a cyclist and photo editor who has ridden bicycles for almost a decade. Hailing from Yorkshire in the north of England but now living in London she first developed her love of the bike through commuting, before finding herself more involved with the sport as the years ticked by. A huge professional racing enthusiast, after a few seasons of long distance riding and audaxing, this year she’s taken to the start line to begin her own amateur racing journey. Her favourite places to ride are the beautiful and rustic roads of Corsica, however she ranks the UK’s Peak District right up there too.