Here at Rutland Cycling we are passionate about all things bike. It always gives us great pleasure to hear from our customers and local riders about their personal experiences in the saddle and how cycling has become a major aspect of their day to day lives. It's never too late to get back into cycling and the benefits are far more than just the additional fitness you'll obtain. We heard from one local rider, Julie Clark, detailing her experiences over the last couple of years on the bike and her goals for the future:
- Name - Julie Clark
- Title - Ambassador
- Age - 45
- Disciplines - Road cycling, Time trials, cyclocross, Mountain biking
- Bikes - Liv intrigue, Liv obsess, Liv Envie, Liv Brava
- Favourite rides - Viking Challenge
- Achievements - joining a cycling club, achievement my aim of being capable of riding with a fast paced group, ridden my first 100 miles this year, achieved my goal of riding over 4000 miles this year, achieved my goal of riding a sub 30 10 mile TT, achieved confidence in riding In a group and riding on the roads.
- Goals - To hit 27 minutes in a 10 mile TT next year, To improve my technique in cyclocross, To carry on enjoying a sport I love
I am a mother to three lovely grown up boys and decided later on in life to take up cycling. I used to love sport as a youngster and my only regret is not pursuing the sport as I grew up. I have fond memories growing up of me riding my bike around the Vale of Belvoir, spending hours cycling about on my favourite bike, which was my purple second hand chopper that my parents brought me for my Birthday. I remember one Christmas I had what I thought was a brilliant white fold up bike, why I needed a fold away bike I don't know, but I loved it. I never took cycling seriously as a child, it was just something you did as a kid around the village during summer holidays. A few years ago I would never would have dreamt that I would be purchasing a couple of cheap mountain bikes with my partner Ian - Or that we would purchase another 8 during the couple of years that followed!
Our love for bikes started at Rutland water, and this is still a firm favourite of ours for biking. We started venturing out to the Peak District and that's when we purchased our first decent bikes, the Giant Anthem for Ian and the Liv Intrigue for me. These bikes took us to Pines, Cannock Chase and the trails around the Derbyshire Countryside.
At the end of 2016 we were both invited along to join a MTB night ride with a few members of a local club. The ride started at the canal in Grantham and went around the Vale of Belvoir. I have to say my first ride was a disaster, I could not keep up, I felt unfit and disheartened by the whole experience. I felt like giving up, throwing my bike in the canal and walking back to our vehicle. This is when I knew I was competitive, and that sudden surge of disappointment turned into determination and that's when I decided to take things more seriously and train harder.
I am so glad I did not quit that night, as cycling has now become a big part of my life and I am loving it. In January 2017 we decided to join our local Cycling Club, The Witham Wheelers. We started off doing Reliability Rides every week and to begin with I was riding In group 1. Back then I was not used to riding such distances, so a few of the rides I found hard work, but again I persevered. I am now at the stage where next year I will be capable of riding with group 3.
In April I decided to give the clubs Time Trials a go, so upgraded my then Road Bike to a Liv Envie and I noticed a difference in my speed and performance straight away. Although I only managed sub 30 three times that season, my goal is to reach at least the 27 Mark next season. With a lot of hard work and dedication this year and with the support, encouragement and advice from fellow club riders, I am now able to ride club rides with the fast group. I have to say, it's been a massive learning curve but it is paying off. I recently decided to have a go at another discipline and that is cyclocross. I have so far competed in 3 races and feel it is another area of the sport that I would like to persevere with and improve upon.
Cycling is my main focus in life, I like the fact that I can see big improvements in my fitness and pace, I love the thrill of riding in a group at speed, the adrenaline rush I get when racing (TT's or cyclocross) and most of all, all the lovely people that I have met along the way. Your encouragement, support, friendship and laughter is what keeps me focused when training.