Next month I will do something I never though myself capable of doing... a SPORTING EVENT! I will be cycling 75 miles for Plan International (to sponsor me) at the Cotswolds Sportive in Cheltenham. For most people I know this will be a major shock. I come from Vancouver a sports capital but I was exactly the opposite when I lived there. I was unfit and lazy. In fact I was unfit and lazy until January this year when sick of the bus I began commuting in from my village to work in Oxford. A new bike and a selection of cycling clothes later and I have become a fully fledged Pedal Head. In the last few weeks I have kicked up training, (yes training) for the sportive and have been even leaving a full days work at the office and going out on a 30-40 mile bike ride home!
So what has caused this huge change. TidyBoy will tell you it's my latest form of procrastination - I get into things to avoid doing what I should be doing - well that is true. BUT there is also something more. I won't get all romantic and talk about the empty roads, being at one with the countryside or the need for speed! Instead it is something that has taken me back to my childhood. I was a crazy horse girl as a kid and was riding everyday after school and all weekends. I would go as far as to wear my riding gear on non-school uniform days just to save time getting to the stables! In those days I used to ride my bike to the stables with a bridle in a backpack and a saddle on my handlebars! My favourite thing to do was to go hacking on my horse. I could go for hours and go anywhere. I would pack snacks and drinks in a backpack and be missing for hours. I think cycling has filled that void. Whenever I see a person hacking out I literally cannot feel anything but jealousy. However, riding a horse is expensive. So my metal framed friend is my substitute. Sure I can't turn it into a freshly cut field and gallop it, but the feelings of being out in the open air and being free are still the same.
Yesterday TidyBoy led the route and it was quite literally a show of manliness! Up this hill and down this one and then up this one and still up this one and up another one... hill after hill after boring hill. There was no variation. No pretty villages to ride through. I got quite grumpy! Although TidyBoy was persistent in the fact this was "good training" I couldn't help but notice the difference in our passions. He does it for speed, and fitness. I do it for something completely different. Although I know the bike cannot hear me when I aimlessly chat to it, and it's not fluffy enough to cuddle the feeling is the same and I cannot wait to explore when I take my new passion back to the Canadian Mountains!