About 10 days have passed now since that epic cycle ride from London to Edinburgh and back. Since then, many blogs and Facebook group posts have been written with riders’ and volunteers’ tales of London-Edinburgh-London. All contain great stories of camaraderie and ingenuity when faced with challenges. This left me with a warm feeling and appreciation for how much kindness there is in this wonderful Audax community. It also left me with an itching desire to experience it all over again in four years’ time. As time passes by, my memory of the ride fades along with any physical niggles I may have picked up along the way. I could add my account of what happened along the way to Chris Herbert’s and Darren Franks’ excellent blogs which cover 2/3rd of my story anyway. Instead, I prefer to tap into those lingering thoughts and feelings that make LEL so special, that make me want to do it again, and that make me want to encourage anyone reading this blog to join me in 2021. LEL: you’re under my skin.
Last weekend 5 really cool things happened: 1. I became the 2017 women’s national 24hr TT champion and – with a provisional distance of 456.45 miles – I came within touching distance of the all-time women’s competition record (461.45 miles), despite enduring far from ideal conditions; 2. I also became the 1st woman ever to get onto the overall podium at a national 24hr championship; 3. Together with my team mates Lynne Biddulph and Jacqueline Hobson we won the team prize; 4. Together with my fantastic crew, I ticked a last important confidence box ahead of my Land’s End to John o’ Groats record attempt in September; and 5. Thanks to James Hayden I finally rode a proper deep section HED Jet 9 wheel, something I didn’t think I would ever achieve as I am such a chicken!
Recently I did a 12hr TT and a 24hr race back to back on consecutive weekends – plus a 600k Audax in less than 24 hours the weekend before that. Most ‘normal’ people would say doing any of these events full stop would be mad enough, let alone doing them back to back. It isn’t something I would recommend or do regularly, but there is some reason to this madness. But… it paid off with two big PBs and, more importantly, too big ticks in the ‘confidence’ box on my journey to the LEJOG record attempt in September.
As part of my preparations for London-Edinburgh-London at the end of July, and ultimately my End 2 End record attempt in September, I decided to ride two 400km Audax events back to back at the end of April. On Saturday 29 April at 6am I set out for the 407km London-Wales-London, followed by a departure from Poole on Sunday 30 April at 2pm for the Porkers 400. I just wasn’t hardcore enough to ride between the two events…
When asked what I do for a living, I usually respond: “I am a management consultant who specialises in strategic and business planning advice to the visitor, leisure and cultural sectors”. Some people instantly understand what I mean with that, but others may think that I am a travel consultant, booking and organising trips to exotic destinations for clients and sneaking in the occasional fam trip. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most of my time is spent behind my desk: either on the phone or working on spreadsheets and reports. I do travel quite a bit for site visits, consultations and client meetings, but hardly ever outside of the UK these days.
“The same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. It’s about what you’re made of, not the circumstances”. This is the quote that my ‘be the egg’ mantra refers to. A mantra that helps me when the going gets tough and will hopefully help to set new LEJOG & 1,000 miles records in September this year.
On the 18th of February at 15:19 GMT (after a false start on the wrong course… ahem how did I manage to get lost on the turbo ?!), I achieved a big goal: breaking the Zwift distance record, previously held by Chris Hopkinson at 1010.7 miles. When I set out on this mission I was quietly confident in my own abilities, yet at the same time worried about the unknown I had thrown myself into. Who was I to think I could sit on a turbo for that long? And who was I to think I could break a record held by one of the best male ultra-endurance racers? But 70 hours and 11 minutes later, of which 62 hours and 4 minutes had been spent in the saddle… I climbed off as the new Zwift Distance Record holder, having added more than 200 km to the old record, achieving a total ride distance of 1828 km or 1135.9 miles.