As I write this, we are in the third week of the 2021 Tour De France. Mark Cavendish has made a remarkable comeback this year and has equalled Eddy Merckx record of 34 Tour De France Stage wins. If he succeeds in Paris he will break this record. It's certainly something to shout about. Yet the sporting media has been so focussed on the Euro's and England making the final, that his accomplishment has been completely overshadowed to everyone other than cycling fans. And while this makes me sad, the truth is, this is what has been happening to women, in all sports, since the dawn of time.
Let me tell you about mental health issues. I’m not talking about the kind of issues that are visible, or the kind of issues that cause alarm with your friends and family. Like many disabilities a lot of mental health issues can be invisible. Millions of people suffer daily with what seem to them to be relatively minor mental health issues. Issues that cause them problems with relationships. Issues that cause them anxiety. Issues that don’t allow them to appreciate their own self-worth. Issues that in isolation don’t really appear anything to be concerned about....
As daylight came, there was a short break in the worst of the rain....or maybe there wasn't, I was so wet it was difficult to tell. but the terrain eased up a little. Despite yet more mud and bigger puddles, it was rideable, and so for a while I made better progress. I was several hours now behind plan, which meant that I reached the Reigate Hill picnic area after the cafe there had opened.
There is something both scary and exciting about doing something for the first time. The reality is that you never know if you can do something until you try. You can spend your time talking about things, or actually living them. I do a bit of both, but in recent years I’ve decided that life is just too short to waste it dreaming. The things that 10 years ago I said I could never do..... well I’ve given many of them a good shot, with varying degrees of success. With every challenge I set myself, I’ve learned new things about myself. I’ve learned that I can do crazy things. But, I’ve also learned that I have developed a remarkable mental toughness for adversity, and will to carry on, even when many others might quit. I’ve also learned that Type 2 fun does exist, and you mostly don’t realise you had fun until after.
I'm still a little nervous if I'm honest about embarking on an off-road ultra that is approx 8 times in distance further than anything I have done so far in training. As someone who have never done this kind of thing before, one way to help me sort out my nerves has been to understand what the route is going to throw at me
Over the last few weeks I’ve been starting to find joy in taking my bike off the tarmac and onto trails and lesser ridden tracks. Not much for now, but it always makes me smile. I think it’s the long forgotten mountain biker in me. Now I’m really not looking to get back into mountain biking (yet), but gravel and trail riding does appeal in bucket loads.