Why I’m Happy Being Scared

Been doing a little investigation into the whole LEJOG thing over the past couple of days. There’s lots of options and routes and date ranges – in truth it’s all a little bewildering and frankly, rather terrifying! It’s a bloody long way. There are hills. A lot of hills. Some of them really, really big.

There will be a lot of this

I’ve heard the midges in Scotland are virtually vampires and there’s pretty much no chance of avoiding the little buggers. There may well be camping. There will likely be mechanical failures. I may fall off. I may get injured. It’s going to be bloody hard work.

I’m scared stiff.

I’ve had the pleasure, though, recently, to meet the rather wonderful Emily Chappell. Truth told, I was a bit star struck. I mean, Emily is a complete superstar of endurance cycling. She’s a published author, a super-well-educated smart cookie, role model and member of The Adventure Syndicate.

Well, of course, Emily, it turns out, despite being all of the above and more, is also mortal.

I mentioned to her that I’m going to challenge myself in 2017 to try cycle touring, which means the dreaded camping. It takes me so far out of my comfort zone I pretty much need a passport. But I’m going to face my fears and give it a go, because, after all, what’s the worst that can happen?

To which Emily gives me the broadest grin, congratulates me and confides that every time she sets off on a new adventure she is scared too…

Last night I had a conversation with another friend. She’s also an elite cyclist and I look up to her greatly. More than a bit bonkers (in a totally loveable way) and has achieved some astonishing stuff. She’s going to be embarking on a new challenge in 2017 – it’s currently under embargo so no, I’m not revealing what – and guess what? She says she’s scared too.

So that’s two elite women whom I admire and respect a great deal who admit that they still find things scary. Which makes it OK for we mere mortals to get the jitters too.

More women need to know this. It’s empowering. It means it’s normal.  It means we too can overcome it if we just stop being paralysed, face up to it and kick it hard where it hurts.

And so yes, I’m scared of camping and touring and LEJOG but it’ll be fine. It’ll be awesome because my friends and family will be supporting and encouraging and loving me and cheering me on, just as I will Emily and my friend when  they embark on their next adventures.


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