Becoming a Trek Bikes Ambassador
I remember the moment it all started, I was sat chatting to my long suffering husband about an Insta-famous individual who ‘retracted the Michael’ from cycle brands who always used overly sexualised images of women to sell their bikes….
The account is hilarious and it struck me that many bike brands sponsor elite riders and up and coming youth riders, but where they miss out is sponsoring or supporting riders who aren’t particularly wonderful cyclists, but absolutely love the sport and have to struggle with children, work, family and general life stresses to find time to get out on their bike – let alone improve enough to warrant buying a new bike.
So, I decided to pitch my idea to Trek – clearly believing that they’d laugh me out of the shop.
I love writing, so i figured I could genuinely help them reach more women like me, nearing 40, mother to young children (or just ‘child’ in my case), working hard, dabbling in a bit of road riding and having a go at cyclocross racing. Maybe you’re not EXACTLY like me, but even if you tick one of those boxes you’ll recognise some of these stresses:
- Saying you’ll find time for a ride, but when the moment arrives, you’re just too tired or you tell yourself you’ll be rubbish so there’ll be no point anyway.
- Work takes over and when work is done, you need to pick up your daughter and when you’ve done that, you have to cook dinner and when you’ve eaten that, you just feel too fat to move, let alone get on the trainer.
- You plan to get up early, but after the 4th time getting up for your child who can’t sleep, you turn the alarm off.
- You beat yourself up every time you miss the opportunity to ride.
- You want to give racing a go, but everyone is fitter, stronger and better looking in the race pics than you.
- You want to join a club, but are worried the 15mph average is a bit of a stretch.
- Oh I could go on…..
Now this isn’t just for the busy women, there are many fellas out there who suffer these stresses too, so this is for you too. I just want to demonstrate the REAL struggles and joy of a cyclist over a season of cyclocross and into the road season.
Anyway, gobsmacked as I was, Trek thought it was a brilliant idea. Yay me! So here I am, slightly nervous, very excited and the proud owner of a shiny new Trek Boone for the cyclocross season. I’m really chuffed that Trek decided to support my journey…
So, I’ve already told you a little bit about me, but here’s a bit more about my cycling history.
In 2015 I gave birth to my little girl – Maggie. Parenting is simply the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I’m not ashamed to admit that I find it tough – I just want to do my best for her and the pressures on new mum’s to be perfect is incredibly hard, I lost my sense of self and fell into a spiral of Post Natal Depression. It was only the discovery of positive psychology and getting back to exercise in the form of running that really pulled me back to being me; but after an unfortunate hip injury running the Reading Half Marathon in 2017 I found myself facing the dark again as I was unable to run and exercise had been such a big part of my positive wellbeing.
My husband kindly stepped in and offered to set up his winter bike for me to keep my fitness levels up whilst my hip got better and then I could go back to running…. Well I never did go back to running, after about 45 miles on his bike I decided I clearly needed my own bike (obvs!)
Within 3 months I had joined a local ladies cycling group, ridden the Women’s 100 and was regularly riding over 60 miles a week. I’d started to build a community around cycling and found it offered so much more than just exercise. It ticked all my boxes for my personal wellbeing recipe: fresh air, exercise, social connection, risk, exhilaration, exploring and so much more.
With my husband also being big into cycling and a young child, we had to manage our time out on the bikes carefully, rarely getting a chance to ride together but always giving each the space to find time to ride.
For about the past 3 years, my husband has been bugging me to ‘let him’ do cyclocross. Up until last year, I’d only ever seen a few clips and it looked terrifying. Now before I get all the comments about ‘letting him’ – let me clarify something here, my husband is a self-employed graphic designer and illustrator; he needs his hands! A broken wrist could spell a lengthy time on the bench and that’s not something we can afford. So my fear won over his instinct…. Until last year, when a few of my cycling girlfriends picked up CX bikes and started to look like they were having far too much fun for me to miss out on. So on a whim, I picked up a nice alloy CX and joined them.
Getting a CX bike has literally transformed my cycling. Not only is it all-year-round riding in pretty much any conditions, off-road cycling adds a different angle to social connection on a ride. We laugh lots and explore even more. My technical bike handling skills have improved no end and I discovered I wasn’t half bad at cyclocross!
As a group we undertook our first CX race last year in Milton Keynes and we’ve all been hooked ever since. My husband and I have to share looking after our daughter at the races, but bar the super wet ones – she tends to be scooting around on her own bike or playing with the various other children who join in the fun. The cyclocross scene is friendly, fun and encouraging – it’s a community I’m really proud to be a part of.
So this new season, I’ve decided to add a bit ’seriousness’ to my training. When I say ’seriousness’, I’m not kidding myself about podiums or bunnyhops, I simply mean that I’d like to see real improvement in my own abilities and enjoy the competitive side of the sport even more. (But a podium wouldn’t be horrific obviously!)
Over the season, I’ll aim to share my journey from getting a coach, to finding the right nutrition, to training taking a back seat when ‘life’ gets in the way (and knowing that’s ok!). I’ll also be sharing some positive psychology tips along the way when my challenges mean I can offer help and hopefully inspiration to others. This isn’t going to be a ‘if I can do it, you can do it’ journey at all, because your story will be different, but I just hope there is a nugget in my experiences that give you hope or inspire you to be brave and take the next step in your cycling journey….