This Girl Can. Episode 2

It’s a couple of years since we made the first This Girl Can film so I’ve been delighted this summer to be invited back to participate in episode 2.

What’s great is to see some new ladies taking on the Notts Girls Can banner.

There’s some fantastic new women showing off some brilliant and exciting activities – things like hula hooping and circus skills! It all looks like so much fun and it’s a campaign I’m incredibly proud to be a part of.

And I’m most proud that a couple of my beautiful co-stars, Debbie and Sarah-Jayne, have come so far in their cycling journeys and somewhat humbled that they named me as their inspiration!

Watch it here – This Girl Can – it’ll be online a couple of months or so I’d imagine.


Fail not Fail

Today I planned a long bike ride after work and failed. 

I wanted to do a 26 mile loop from work to home but turns out I’m not quite ready for it. Shoulder is fine but my wrists and elbows aren’t. Even my legs don’t feel great. Was feeling a bit despondent, then remembered a conversation I’d had with Kajsa Tylen about how failing and if you accept what is and view it as a learning the mindset is a whole lot more positive.

Unfortunately, I’d forgotten to start my Garmin so at the moment of failure I couldn’t actually see what I had managed. I credited myself with around 12 miles. But fortunately, technology is a wonderful thing.

Here’s what I learned:

  • I actually cycled 17 miles so significantly the furthest since my surgery
  • I probably need to spend a couple of weeks doing more regular, shorter rides, just to get my elbows, wrists (and bum!) back in order
  • I remember how quickly I have improved before and know I can do this again
  • I have a fabulous, beautiful friend in Tricia, who not only volunteered to cycle with me but also rescued me (I knew she was fabulous and beautiful already to be fair)
  • It feels a whole lot better to take this approach than beating myself up about it
  • I should always remember to take photos on a ride, even when it doesn’t go to plan as I regret it when I don’t
  • I wholeheartedly deserve the cherries I’m currently tucking into

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.