I am a late forties ex-journo and mother of three. My riding story begins at the top of Surrey’s most iconic climb about five years ago. My friend Jacqui and I had tentatively ridden out to Box Hill following her husband’s Garmin route on our new road bikes. The hill turned out to be much tamer than we anticipated – but the tea and cake stop at the top became a favourite haunt as we explored the other hills. It’s hard not to keep going back, I think they put something in the tea.
Jacqui and I did the Diva that first year and a few other sportives. In 2014 we raised our game – and bought new Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels – to do the Dragon Ride (Medio, 6hrs43) and Etape Cymru (6hrs14). And then last summer I tackled the Dragon Ride Gran Fondo (230km) and the Etape du Tour (finishing about half way down the field – very proud of myself, it’s mostly men).
I am still cycling as we now drift into winter (London Etape, tick) and I am looking for my next challenge. Another Etape? Maybe one of the other European Gran Fondos? What ever it is, I can’t stop now …
I love your blog and read it at work while dreaming of getting some miles in myself. I’ve also entered the Etape this year and finding other people training for it is a great help with motivation. I struggle to get the time to cycle though as we have three-year old twins and my wife is also training to cycle up the Ventoux in early July so we have to take turns getting out on the bike.
I hope your back improves quickly – it must be hell training in such pain. Very impressive that you carry on regardless but I hope it doesn’t make it worse.
Thank you for your kind words on the blog. It keeps the grey matter going. I’m very impressed that you and your wife are taking on such challenges with twin toddlers. I don’t think I could have done it. The Ventoux certainly has a lot of history about it. And, well, the Etape is a rites of passage, isn’t it? I’ll see you there…