But getting to that fitness level was hard. I’m not just talking about the physical efforts of improving my speed, power and endurance, but also dealing with all the added symptoms I was dealing with by going through the menopause. My sleep was dreadful, often barely getting 6 hours sleep a night, I couldn’t regulate my body temperature, and my mood was swinging all over the place. In many ways though my menopause symptoms have been mild.
For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to be good at something. When I say good I mean really good. I've wondered what it would be like to be one of life's winners, as that's never been me.
Taking a glance at my book collection, it's not hard to understand why I feel compelled to travel all over the world with my bike. My reading material transports me to far flung places, and it's usually around this time of year, when the evenings are dark that I bury my nose deep into the next epic cycling adventure.
December 22nd is notable in my calendar for two reasons. First, it's my daughter Abi's birthday. Who knew 31 years ago that I would be doing the other notable thing, an overnight bike ride on the shortest day of the year and on a night where there were weather warnings galore?
Being a long distance cyclist was accepting that it was all I could become. Yes I could cycle a long way, and I loved to do this, but I felt I was deluding myself if I thought I could ever be even slightly competitive as a cyclist. Completing a long distance event in time, let alone a good time, was something that more capable & usually younger women did, not me. I would enter, because I liked the idea of a particular ride, and my aim was simply to complete it, hopefully in time.
So what’s change my perspective?
The post that follows is not anything like I thought I would write about it, but I think it's important. It's very personal to me, and I've rarely discussed it, but I think that many others out there may be able to relate, and so this story will be told. I want to explain why it was so important to me to complete it, ideally within time, but even out of time if necessary. The reason is not what you would expect.