I'm not going to lie and say I was really motivated for the Three Peaks Cycling Challenge at first because I just thought of cycling nearly 500 miles and hiking 23 more as something only crazy endurance athletes do. It's virtually impossible for someone like me, right? I half-heartedly committed to completing the challenge and Paul and I set a goal of achieving it the following summer.
The following six months flew by, I moved to the Peak District, got a job as a designer at Rab and comically broke my leg trail running the day before I started work. I was out for six weeks and did nothing but feel sorry for myself, moan, binge watch Netflix and munch on too much chocolate. Meanwhile, Paul signed up for a triathlon, trained hard and focused on his diet. Once I no longer needed a boot or crutches (well almost) I bandaged up my ankle as best as I could and went for a cycle. That ultimate feeling of freedom made me feel lucky to be there in that moment, and the Peak District hills also killed me (some rides were more of a walk up hills and cycle down them affair). But that was the start. I was determined to make up for the lost time, push myself and be fitter than ever before.
I set a goal to at least cycle 70 miles a week (mainly commuting). At first, this was unachievable, but soon I was cycling 100 miles a week as well as climbing. Eventually, I was cycling between 120 to 200 miles a week as well as climbing whenever I could. Anything to be outside and challenge my mind and endurance. My training was purely outdoors based and what I class as ‘fun' led. I ate what I wanted and just got out as much as I could. I found I could focus more whilst at work too because I was getting my outdoor kick before and after work.
Paul and I did a few 60 mile training rides and talked about which charity would be a perfect fit. We came across Cyclists Fighting Cancer . These guys help kids regain their physical fitness, strength, mental wellness and confidence by giving them new bikes along with other equipment and support. We decided to raise money for Cyclists Fighting Cancer and NSPCC. Raising money wasn’t easy and I took the introverted approach, promoting our challenge and sponsorship on social media. A week before we were set to leave I’d only raised £200 and began to panic. If we were going to make a difference I needed to try harder. I baked loads of cakes, did a cake sale at work, sent office-wide emails around, went a bit mad on social media and kept promoting the charities. By the time we set off we had raised over £1300.