why I cycle03 February, 2012 0 comments
I’ve always cycled leisurely (Mtb) on and off since my early 30s just letting my bike take me to places which I wouldn’t otherwise see. Me, my bike, my Ipod, enjoying all that our great outdoors has to offer whilst escaping the sometimes drudgery of household chores!
In my late 40s, I developed mouth cancer and like many before me, this was one huge wake up call as to the value of life and what really mattered.
I decided there and then to do more of what I enjoyed whilst also keeping fit and getting out into the fresh air. I needed a challenge, a new focus and trawling through the internet one weekend, I found exactly what I was looking for. A 1000kms Mtb ride from Lhasa in Tibet through to Kathmandu in Nepal via the north face of Everest base camp. Encompassing 6x 5200m passes and the longest Mtb downhill in the world - all 100 miles of it! I’m neither a pro cyclist nor an athlete, just a mum of two teenagers but, I knew that if I put the effort into my training, I could do this.
I spent the next 6 months down at the gym in Spin classes and general fitness gym floor work combined with twice daily off road rides, one at 0600hrs and another at 1300 hrs. This also included riding with a Snorkel. Yes, don’t laugh! This was to try and replicate riding with reduced oxygen intake – hypoxic training they called it! I remember entering a 60 mile road ride on my mountain bike wearing the snorkel. It was down in Dorset and you can imagine the comments! “The sea is that way my dear!”, “are you expecting floods?” I knew that I looked a complete ninny but I didn’t care. It was hard work but also really enjoyable and it paid off. I completed the trip in September last year and it truly was an experience of a lifetime. Crossing the Himalayas on two wheels at very high altitudes where on average you only get 53% oxygen. It was beyond ‘tough’ and I lost count the number of times that I cried through sheer exhaustion and pain from altitude sickness. But, I also laughed just as much. Reaching Everest base camp was the highlight of the trip even with the earthquake which scared me beyond anything I have ever known!
I also decided to raise funds for the hospital I am under at the same time and managed to get in excess of £6500!
I have now bought a road bike and in May I’m hoping to ride from Goring on Thames to Paris – that’s providing I get used to these real skinny tyres and zero suspension! J
So, back to the title…. Why do I cycle? Enjoyment, fitness, laughter, tears, unbelievable opportunities to experience sights you would otherwise not see and meeting so many different people from all walks of life.
Me, my bike, my Ipod and now, lots and lots of new friends too and I will carry on pedalling for as long as I possibly can.