I stopped diving in 2008; a back injury prevented me from continuing and my medical team told me firmly I should ONLY do yoga for the foreseeable years. Not being someone that does as he’s told very often, in 2009 I ran the London Marathon for SportsAid!!
I favoured running over any other kind of movement at that time but between 2009 and 2012 I noticed I was picking up lots of running injuries – my body was telling me I needed to mix it up a bit. Then in 2012, inspired by my good friend John, I entered my first triathlon in Lanzarote – that was it, I was hooked! So, I bought my first bike, and soon after did a Half Ironman.
In 2013 I entered my first charity bike ride with Investec. It was a multi-day event with almost 100 riders and we rode 350 miles over 4 days, raising £250,000 for Lord’s Taverners – a charity that creates youth sporting opportunities - it was AMAZING.
As a birthday treat, when I turned 40 I did the full Ironman, it’s a 3.8km swim, 180km on the bike, and full marathon.
"I barely had the energy to blow out 40 candles on my cake, afterwards."
Since then, I’ve revised my approach and focussed on just having a great time on my bike – I’ll enter a challenge or a charity race maybe once a year to keep things interesting. But I truly have the cycling bug – for me, it’s the best combination of incredibly challenging whilst being super enjoyable. I get out for a spin every day when I’m not traveling, along the South Downs or maybe the coast – I’m lucky that there are a plethora of brilliant cycle routes near me, and I intend to explore them all. I really enjoy 1-day events in France, too - cycling around the Cols on the Tour De France route. It’s often a 10 hour day of cycling with 34km climbs but I’m still beaming on the last straight home. I’ve also used cycling to volunteer for Pedal People, we pilot a ‘Trishaw’ for elderly care home resident passengers whose reduced mobility prevents them from getting outside, we go on an outdoor adventure and all of us get to feel the wind in our hair and have a chat with passers-by.
Cycling is my thinking space, it creates my moments for creativity, pockets of reflection. I think of it as my moving meditation.
So far, I’ve owned 2 road bikes and I have a folding bike for commuting. If you’re thinking of getting into cycling yourself, I’d say DO IT!
You won’t regret it, your mind and your body will thank you and so will the planet. It’s the future in many ways.
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