I knew the anniversary of me getting a bike was coming up and it turned out to be yesterday 17th September. I may only be 33, but it was still a long time since I owned a bike back in my teens, so it took some courage getting back on a bike after such a long time.
The reason behind me getting a bike was so I could get out of the car, take the kids to and from school and embrace the healthy outdoors lifestyle of living in Australia. So off I went to the LBS and said I will have one of those please, without a second thought I had a just brought myself an MTB.
Before I arrived in Australia I was over 80kg, which whilst not huge I was unhappy and not healthy. I used to run and so I started running initially which helped me shift most of the weight along with eating sensibly and going to the gym I am now around 60kg, much happier and healthy.
So where did the bike fit into all this?
After completing the City to Bay in the September I wanted a new challenge and something to aim for so I decided I would think about doing the Bupa Challenge for the Cancer Council and dedicate the ride to my Dad who I lost to Lung Cancer in mid 2010.
I then quickly I joined AC after another former runner Steve Ellison pointed me in the right direction. I then went on my first group ride with Muddies on the Oct 29th from Hallet Cove and up Cox's hill. It was brilliant and everyone was great at helping me along the way and not once moaing about how slow I was. This was the ride that had my mind made up I was going to do the Bupa challenge on my MTB.
I got myself some new tyres for the MTB so I could ride on the road with less resistance. I rode from Gumeracha to Tanunda and completed the 102kms in just over 4hrs a huge effort for me and a very emotional one too.
So what next happened next?
Well my husband Phil, decided that as he was turning 40 so he wanted a road bike, and now cycles in and out of the CBD from Port Noarlunga and has started racing with the Southern Vets in McLaren vale.
I upgraded to cleats and then onto my very own road bike in April this year. I love riding my lovely road bike although through winter training has been tough... Especially after entering Bike SA's Grand Slam series and completing both laps of the GS4 (147kms) in terrible conditions. It does make you think twice about why you do it.
Cycling has now changed not just my life but the entire family. If it was not for AC I would not have looked into cycling events and activities with Cycling SA at the Superdrome. They hold regularly training sessions just for women to come and try track and train with other women. This is now my new love and I have just purchased myself a second hand track bike and also joined Port Adelaide Cycling Club ready to race. I have had a go at Cyclo Cross in Victoria Park recently which was great fun and also watched Anna Meares have a go.
Phil and I now organise the Southern Suburbs Road Cyclists group running group rides alternate Saturday and Sundays namely 'L' and 'P' rides. These rides start at a very gentle 40kms round McLaren Vale and a steady 20kmph for the 'L' ride and we have varying routes for the 'P' rides which are slightly harder or further to push yourself a bit further if you wish to. It's all about getting out and having a go with like minded individuals.
Not only am I now a cyclist, I now teach children and adults how to ride a bike and safely, after meeting the owner of Ride a bike right Lee-Anne Fleming at the track sessions mentioned above. I have only been doing it for a short time but it feels very right and perfect for me.
I feel as if my Dad wanted me to start cycling and has been guiding me to make better choices for me and my families future.
After riding a little while it soon became clear that I was a natural and I loved it. It has been an incredible 12 months of cycling, I am not one for stats but I have cycled around 3,500kms in the past 12months which is not a huge amount but it's enough for me. Strangely I have still done more km's on the MTB! That has to change soon :-)
I have made some amazing friends and without you lot I would not be where I am today, there are too many to mention but Pat, RD6, Colin, the Matt's, Steve Ellison, Lee-Anne and everyone else who has encouraged me to push myself and instilled a confidence in me and my cycling ability. I should also say thank you to my husband Phil who takes a more hands on approach to looking after the kids so I can work and enjoy some cycling time. The kids are making cycling friends too, RD7 and little brother Liam and Lauren and Mia Jones and the many more families we meet.
The next goal is to ride 200km in one ride which is achievable but not something I am looking to repeat any time soon. I want to keep pushing myself so maybe some longer distance charity rides and touring cycling and of course racing.
Thank you Gus and Adelaide Cyclists, I am and always will be a cyclists :-)