Archive | September, 2013

LadyCycle in Canada: Caro’s 200km ride across British Columbia

25 Sep

Our latest blog is an international edition from Canada. The brilliant Caro St John, despite never having ridden any significant distance in her life, has decided to cycle across Canada. She recently completed a huge training milestone: a 200km ride across British Columbia in support of the BC Lung Association. Not only did Caro put in the hard yards of training throughout summer, she completed the ride, raised $570 Canadian dollars for the charity and is now more focused than ever on her goal of cycling across the country. Here’s her story:

Caro St John 200km ride“My housemate Kate and I have been training for this weekend all summer: a 200km ride over two days through the beautiful Fraser Valley near Vancouver. It was my first ever ‘big’ bike ride and the motivation for doing it (apart from being a great cause!) was to encourage myself to actually ride my bike and start training for my long-term aim: biking across Canada. Considering I hadn’t ridden a bike for seven years the sudden desire to do so was a bit of a shock. I needed to know there was some potential I might actually do it. This summer and this weekend’s ride have taught me that I definitely can. What’s more – I actually like being on my bike!

It was the perfect location: rolling hills, luscious farmland and majestic mountains in the background. More importantly, it didn’t rain. Despite the beautiful surroundings the ride was hard work and the support from BC Lung Association, who the ride was in aid of, was fantastic. They carried our bags, had support cars cheering the whole way and organised breaks every 25km with food, drinks and water. The regular stops definitely make the distance much more manageable.

We finished 100km on day one and camped overnight. It wasn’t the best sleep ever and I was pretty grumpy the next morning (not that this is unusual for those of you who know me in the morning). Getting back on the bike wasn’t exactly what I wanted to be doing, especially as by then I had a rather tender backside. Note to self: listen to those who suggest you wear padded shorts – they know what they are talking about! But the second day began with a huge downhill (one we hadn’t quite made it to the top of at the end of day one) and once I was riding round the stunning Cultus Lake, I was happy to be going again. Our second day was definitely faster. Somehow the hills didn’t seem quite so hard, although that may have been due to the intense desire of just wanting to finish the damn ride.

There were lots of friendly regulars who have been doing the ride for the past few years – some for 16 years in a row. One amazing lady was over 70 and definitely a key motivator. Everyone rode at their own pace, some stopping to take in the local sites and others pausing for beers along the way (we definitely joined that group). On the second day the third rest stop is at a winery where you can taste wine (we did) and buy some to get sent to the end (we did that too).

Despite the distractions we finished the ride in our aim of under seven hours including breaks, so were very pleased with ourselves. I can’t thank Kate enough for one: finding out about the ride, two: encouraging me to sign up to it (a glass of wine is all it took!) and three: being my key motivator throughout the summer. I doubt very much whether I would have done this without her.

Now however, I would definitely do it again. Next time I will conquer that final hill on the first day and know I can do it. My plan is to ride this motivational wave, which will get harder as autumn, then winter, rain and snow start to settle in… But there is always next spring (my favourite season in Vancouver) and summer to get going again, which after the ego boost of completing this ride will be a much easier journey”.

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