The air brushing my face, the sensation of my heartbeat thumping against my ribcage whilst my leg muscles start to burn as though they are on fire can only mean one thing. I am trying to climb a hill. On a bicycle.
Except it isn’t a hill. It’s a vertical wall of tarmac. The sort of angle that Tim Peake would be travelling at as he leaves terre ferme. And I’m supposed to do it without rocket power, just my legs.
Hill phobia for a cyclist is not a good thing. Especially someone who hopes to cycle to Scotland and back next year in five days. No one is going to take out a rolling pin and flatten out the hills in a Mary Berry kind of way just for me.
The spirit of mountain biking was completely encapuslated in the video. How much fun does it look? Those tyres are nearly the width of those on cars. A traffic free environment to start facing the fear. If I can climb hills on a mountain bike, then on a road bike will be a walk in the park.
My local Trek bike shop (possibly not quite so local) is Stan’s in Shrewsbury where a bike had caught my eye the moment I saw it. A discussion with their team and they identified the perfect bike for me – its 29” wheels and 2.2” tyres had my name on it. We took it for a test ride and it felt fantastic although it was a bit of shock to be cycling on grass!
The next day an eight mile ride was an absolute joy – even on the road. Hard work, pushing into a headwind with those wide tyres but it just felt incredible. This was the only discipline I hadn’t really tried (other than a small course at Herne Hill Velodrome a few years ago).
Researching where, when and what to wear has been very enlightening. Professional mountain biker Manon Carpenter and the Stronghercc team rode a ride of rides. The reliably informing Total Women Cycling peeps have included details of Hope Technology MTB Rides starting next month – definitely something to keep an eye on.
Long distance, traffic free, hilly rides have taken on a whole new excitement and I just cant wait.