I decided that I had to stop kerfuffling around the easy rides some time previously and I promised myself (talked myself into it) that if I completed the 50-mile course I would have to go up to the intermediate rides finally!
The first thing I did was enter all the dates into my diary and keep Wednesdays free also for my homework rides. As I filled up all the Mondays in February, I did realise that this is normally a chilly month but I would be in the same boat as the other ladies and within 40 minutes of the ride ending I could be in a hot bath or even sooner grab a shower at Hilden.
The first day Susan took us out, we were all a bit apprehensive but knew 25 miles would be OK. I was by far the slowest that day but I was gently encouraged and coaxed along. As the weeks progressed, I found myself looking forward to venturing into different areas and convinced myself it was only a few more miles. One week, it was so windy that Clare led us home early having had to cut the route short. Now, I don’t like to go down on my drops but when such a wonderful, experienced cyclist such as she tells you to tuck in behind her I did, hoping I wouldn’t be blown away!
One of the things that motivated me to keep turning up was that I wanted to keep up with my group and not slow them down, it really is a group effort. I missed one ride but Karen was there on Wednesday to lead myself and others on that week’s 35-mile ride. Some like to study the routes but every week I preferred to turn up not thinking too much about them. We waited expectantly to see who would be leading us each Monday, as we were all encouraging each other, we discussed what goodies/ food helped us to keep going, had we slept well the night before, what other rides had we squeezed in. My own anxieties started to diminish and I was looking forward to the end of the course and the sense of achievement I would receive.
I wasn’t disappointed, the final day came and I can only remember great weather. I was so happy and pleased with myself. Were there tears??? of course there were! Tears of tiredness and happy emotion. I am so thankful to all the leaders and women I rode with and those ladies also who gave me encouragement in the car park. All their generosity I found overwhelming. Things I’ve figured out…. don’t have a comfort zone, ride with many different leaders and ladies. Just keep turning up. It doesn’t matter what size you are, age or background cycling with KVG is for everyone. I’m getting braver! I still need to go on a descending course! Ellen x