- Teresa cycling up the Col du Galibier in the French Alps.
I started cycling just four years ago. Starting out on what I thought was a sensible, practical bike for London (a foldable Dahon Espresso), I soon tired of lugging it up and down the stairs at home and at work. The Dahon also completed a C2C holiday (Newcastle to Carlisle and back). Not entirely sure how I survived that little excursion looking back. I even rode it with flat pedals and carrying a rucksack!
A welcome surprise work bonus moved me on to my first road bike. A Cannondale CAAD9. My pride and joy, I rolled out of the shop with SPD pedals fitted. This also meant circumnavigating my way home clipped in for the first time. I remember being so terrified I found a quiet back street to practise clipping in and out, before tackling the 3 lanes of traffic round the notorious Elephant and Castle roundabout to get home.
It was around this time that I was talked into my first big cycling event: the Hot Chillee 3 day London to Paris. I signed up in October and went for my first 'long' (I thought) training ride in January. A 90km loop to Windsor. On my return home I sat on my sofa with my head in my hands wondering what I had signed myself up for. 525km in 3 days? Bonkers. But I did it and loved it so much I went back and did it a second year. Being guided round the Arc de Triomphe on closed roads by Tour de France outriders is truly spectacular. You feel just so pro.
- Out on a training ride.
It was this experience that had me testing all manner of saddles, pedals, shoes, cleats, kit and nutrition. I eventually had a bike fit too, which was money well spent. Since then along with 3 friends I set up the online cycling club Gruppo Sportivo Gazzetta. Our main aim is to be a club open to everyone from any background of any ability. Since our launch just under two years ago we have over 100 members all over the world, even as far away as Los Angeles, Alaska, Japan, New Zealand and Australia. With the club I’ve now completed the Flanders RVV (twice), been to the Alps – and if I can make it up the Alpe d’Huez and the Galibier anyone can. More recently, I’m just back from a week in the Pyrenees. Very tough cycling indeed! Of course I’m also a veteran of numerous sportives all around the UK. This summer was an exciting one - I was in Liege for the Tour Grand Depart and I volunteered as part of the cycling admin team across all the Olympic cycling events.
- On the Koppenberg in Flanders. Photograph by legendary cycling photographer Camille Macmillan.
Over the upcoming months I’ll blog about experiences out and about on my bike, past, present and future. I know what it is like to get on a bike for the first time and how to train for big events, so any questions ask!
By the way, nutrition? Cake and coffee. Lots!