EyesUp has had a year away from blog posts – not unusual even in the brief history of this site. Writing is sometimes a mental release and sometimes torturous as some of you will know… one year on from my first multi-day cycling experience, an update is definitely overdue.
I am still cycling – I’ve covered over 7,200 kms on my road bike plus a few hundred on the mountain bike added to my garage collection last year. I completed not only 121km event in Lorne, Victoria last September but also the L’Etape Australia ride in early December, including one of craziest hill climbs known to mankind in the pouring rain. I’ve upgraded shoes, tyres, bike computers, sunglasses and even had coaching sessions – and in a particular moment of madness participated in the Rapha #festive500 Challenge – a mere 500kms of riding between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Getting up before 5am has become part of my life on a regular basis… along with protein shakes, sports massages and gel bloks.
In February 2018 I spent a total of almost 30 hours on my bike – the equivalent of 4 working days. All those hours out on the bike provide a lot of time for reflection. I started cycling with a goal of completing a particular event, but it has stayed in my life – a life which was, prior to that, already packed with work, family, friends and other fulfilling activities I enjoyed. I have narrowed my “why” down to 4 things:
My competitive nature – I love difficult challenges and proving myself. Cycling provides constant comparisons, statistics and new goals – you can always get faster and stronger – there is always another goal or event around the corner. Since ceasing competitive sports a few years ago this has been missing from my life – now I can compete simply with my previous time or even with virtual humans on Zwift!
Gear and technology – you can NEVER have enough new gadgets or gear for your bike – and there are endless people to discuss this with! Research abounds, new developments occur, bike shops are like a trip to the candy store, and a Wiggle delivery is like Christmas. I am a born shopper and I love new tech – this sit right in the sweet spot for me.
People – cycling is incredibly social. I love the solitude of a long ride on my own own some days – escaping from work or family madness. But cycling in a group thrown together by a common cause creates relationships that would not otherwise happen – and provides diversity and colour in my life that is a constant source of joy. When you stretch yourself physically, often it is the encouragement of others that gets you through, and this creates a shared bond – this is part of the power in the peloton.
The cause – without doubt the secret sauce – riding for a cause – taps into the other three “whys” and binds them together. I started riding because there was an underlying reason – to raise funds for cancer research, awareness and prevention measures. The amazing Tour De Cure team coached me, encouraged me and inspired me to ride hard and raise funds for their program which has so far resulted in 22 significant cancer breakthroughs, and taken the prevention message of Be Fit, Be Healthy, Be Happy to schools across the country.
In case you hadn’t already guessed, this is why I am still training hard – a 3 day stage ride in the 2018 Tour De Cure Signature Tour in May – 400kms from Tinaroo to Port Douglas via Cape Tribulation. I’m currently covering 250-300kms a week – alongside work and family life this is tough, but not as tough as fighting cancer – we all know someone who has been impacted by cancer in the past 12 months – each of these stories adds a grain of determination to every 415am alarm call and each rolling hill.
Tomorrow I’m setting out on my longest ever ride of 160kms. I am terrified, but I have some great support and a new pair of gloves to spur me on.
Please help me through the next 7 weeks of training by making a contribution to my fundraising goal of $8,000 via my profile page on the Tour De Cure website.
Now I’m off to get my bike ready for tomorrow… let’s hope I can keep my EyesUp the whole way…..