I first got a road bike from my parents when I was 17 and rode to raise money for The British Heart foundation from London to Paris. After that my bike collected a bit of dust before becoming a cheaper, faster alternative to public transport in London.
I was introduced to the mountains at a young age, my Mum did a season when she was younger and is a great skier so I have plenty of memories of building snowmen & attempted igloos when I was small.
Sunrise in the Alps
Living & working in London was amazing, so much fun. Brilliant friends and working as a personal trainer there are so many opportunities. Although the lifestyle is full on, I fancied trying something different and headed to the Alps for what was supposed to be a single winter season.
5 years later i’m still here. I came out for the snowboarding but the longer I have been here the more I have discovered, I now own a lot of kit and have met so many inspiring people. 2 years ago I brought my road bike over for the summer as I was leading cycling trips for ladies round Lake Annecy. A whole new style of cycling opened up to me, I was used to razzing round London dodging buses, waiting at traffic lights and weaving through pedestrians. But out in the Alps you can head up into the mountains, hardly see any cars, get away from the ski resorts into little villages, conquering big climbs then flying down fast weaving descents.
Cycling in Annecy (Alpine Fit Club)
Its a steep learning curve though – climbing is challenging. I spent my first summer road biking pedaling up hill as far as possible then when my legs stopped working descending back to the front door. Near the end of the summer I drove to Alp D’Huez and decided it was time to try a ‘proper’ climb. It was hard 21 bends over 12km but I did it – got to the top celebrated with a beer and decided then that I wanted to get better and better and not have to relive the initial struggle to gain enough strength and fitness. From that moment on I’ve been addicted….
Emily, Colin and me. 2 of my good friends who introduced me to Alpine Cycling
Since then I have been out on my bike year round sun, rain and snow! Last summer I took on my first multi day challenge riding from Bourg to the Beach, over Europe’s highest Cols and Passes. This summer I decided I wanted to step up my riding and start entering events. I didn’t know what to expect as a girl riding mixed events. I’ve also mainly cycled with groups of men so wasn’t sure how i would shape up in comparison to other women.
Winter training in the snow
I’ve now completed my first event of the summer in Imola, Italy, entering both the 15km Time Trial and Gran Fondo. All my trainig seems to be paying off I can 3rd in the Time Trial and completed the 160km Gran Fondo in 6H15 (quicker than I was aiming for).
Third place at the Imola Time Trial
I really enjoyed riding with ladies, you feel as though you are on a level playing field and are in a position to be competitive. Since being back in Bourg this summer I have joined a group called ‘ Birds on Bikes’ it really motivating to know that there are lots of other women in the Valley riding bikes, training hard and exploring the mountains. There moto is ‘ Girls in the Tarentaise valley who like to meet up for road bike rides. Boys/hubbies are allowed to join the rides provided they ride WITH us and pay for the coffees!!!!!’.
One of the ‘Birds’ and I went on a 100km ride this week and it was awesome time flew, chatting the whole way, stopping for coffees and lunch but keeping a good pace. Its reassuring to ride with someone your level and chat about bikes, events and cycling from a female prospective. There is a women’s event being held in Vercours on the 24th May which I have entered, I’m super excited to be part of a women’s only race and even more now that I know there will be some familiar faces en route 🙂