"Wanted: A bike touring coach. I've just been listening to the Juliana Buhring - ultra endurance cyclist podcast on the Tough Girl Podcast (now up there with one of my faves now!!), and re-listening to my own interview with Sarah WIlliams,. And having just split with my bf, Im slowly beginning to realise that every decision from now is entirely about me. Awesome, weird and so exciting. I've decided to do a 1,000km off road ride in June, and unlike anything I have done in the past, I want to go in actually prepared, and confident that I am ready, I won't be the slowest, and I won't dread hills. I want to be able to enjoy the experience, rather than battle through each day. I want it (and every future tour) to be about the adventure, not about grinding one pedal after another, and collapsing in a mess at the end of each day. So given its been 12 months since my big bike tour, I'm pretty much starting from scratch physically, and I want a coach to help me with starting from the ground up, strength, endurance, and doing it right. So who do you know? I'm in Australia, but it doesnt have to be local."
That's what I wrote on the Tough Girl Tribe group on Facebook on the 30th of December, 2016. But on top of that, I just want to be able to accept any invitation to go riding, without worrying and over analysing whether I could keep up, whether I would slow people down, and stop turning down invites because I'm not a "real cyclist" and one of the "slow ones".
And wow the responses, what an amazing group of tough girls, check them out:
"I listened to your interview yesterday and wanted to say how much I enjoyed it. I'm in London at the moment but head back to Melb's next month. So fancy that, your interview is inspiring people from all shores. Great interview, I really enjoyed your story, thanks for sharing."
"I had a big break up this year that left me feeling the same way- at first I felt rudderless and a little overwhelmed but now I'm loving it. I'm in Perth, if my course isn't too hectic at the time I'd love to be a support crew for a bit- I should have a week or two off around then. (the 1,000km ride is the Munda Biddi near Perth)"
"I'm I so sorry to hear about your breakup. That must be super tough, especially after the number of adventures you've been on together. I am excited for you in 2017 - there are so many opportunities for you, and the decisions are all yours. I love your 1,000km off road ride - AWESOME!!! You will be prepared, you will be confident and you will make it happen. You have all the women in the tribe behind you supporting you. If you need help just shout!!! Keep us updated!!! xx" (Sarah Williams, Podcast and Tribe founder)
"When ever you decide to come, plan some extra time and we'll go hiking (but probably only a short one, with the kids, because that's my life :) - but even then we get to great places like this)"
"Off the topic, but are you free to ride Mt Macecdon this weekend?"
BUT THE WINNER CAME WITH THIS ONE....
You will still collapse in a mess at the end of each day! You'll just recover in time for the next day!! Get in touch with fellow Aussie Rishi Fox (@radrishi on Instagram) I know she had a coach for the transcontinental in 2016 who was a 24h MTB racer but I can't remember the name!
To which my response was derrrr! How did I not think of Jess Douglas, 3x World 24hr MTB Solo champion, Cycle coach and passionate advocate of the 1% rule. Jess and her partner Norm basically taught me how to ride a mountain bike as part of MTB Skills back in 2011, we are friends on Facebook, we live 20 mins from each other, and I'll be honest, there's always been a bit of hero worship from me at how awesome she is! Definitely a no brainer, and the good news, yes shes taking new coaching clients, and yes, I passed the application process!
So now I have a cycle coach. Its exciting, scary, exciting, did I say exciting? If I have been able to achieve what I already have without any proper training, then who knows what I can achieve with some structure? Bring it on! I start this week, I'll let you know how I go!