A RIDE TO THE NEW FOREST WITH RELATIVE STRANGERS
Being a relatively new cyclist, I agreed to sign up for a challenge without thinking too much about it, and put my name down for Mallorca 167 in early autumn. As the realisation of what I had committed myself to settled in, the days were already getting shorter and the temperatures had significantly dropped. I knew it would be hard to find opportunities for long rides, and decided to try out a ladies group riding at Richmond Park that I had heard of before. Hence the beginning of my BellaVelo adventure…
My intimidation quickly evaporated at the RoeCafe after the ride where we shared our doggie stories and pictures, and before I knew it, I found myself coming to all the Thursday morning park laps.
As the days have been nearing the challenge, the fact that I still had not ridden 100 miles was weighing me down. I had signed up to go on the training camp, and was planning to drive down.
But when I saw the announcement about groups riding out, I rearranged everything and signed up for the ride down, even though I was quite worried about not being as strong as the ones I already knew.
Once again, this has been a fantastic experience.
Cadzy, Lisa, Claire, Alison, Patricia and I all took turns in leading the way through an amazing part of the country, on each others wheels, in solidarity, good humour and encouragement. When I fell a little behind, the group would slow down a little allowing me to catch up, and they would pick up the speed right back up. At times we were all breathing hard, quietly pushing ourselves, at others admiring the beautiful scenery over the South Downs, and yet soon again there would be some chatter and laughter …By the time we arrived at Warbourne Farm we had not compromised on anything we had started out with. And there goes the story of my first 100 miles.
I feel quite lucky to be riding with women who are in ways so different to me and yet in others so like me. I hope to see many others experiencing similar and positive firsts in this wonderful world of cycling.