It’s Rachael’s story that sticks in our minds here at Struggle HQ. We often recall Rachael to encourage anxious procrastinators whose curser hovers over the enter button. Here full-time solicitor and mum of two tells us why anyone with strong will can complete the Struggle.
Do I, Don’t I?
“I had lots of pre-event nerves and was regularly making the decision not to start the sportive as it’s only for the faster cyclists. Well, it’s not!” says Rachael.
Every time we’d talk to Rachael she’d change her mind and decide to drop out… and then reinstate her place. Just days before the event – thanks to a little help from her friends – she came to her final decision. “Why not? What’s the worst thing that can happen?”
When she’s not in the office or caring for her two children, two dogs and triathlon-mad husband, Rachael trains with a close-knit group of women from Harrogate’s Cappuccino Cycling Club.
“We had no real training plan other than to try and tick off the hills on the route beforehand so they didn’t appear too daunting on the day. I’m better if I know what I’m dealing with. I knew I could do the distance but I’m rubbish at hills.”
Rachael and Co arrived at the Struggle sportive start line early, eager to get on the road. “The high point of the day was getting halfway around and realising I could do it. Although my friend Nicky pointed out we would have to do it because I was the furthest away from home. There’s no going back!”
Trapping Hill with 90 miles in her legs soon zapped Rachael’s moral, but Struggle marshals and support vehicles were en route to lift her spirits. “At this point my legs didn’t feel like they were working. Then I hit Pateley Bridge and the marshal and a fellow club rider Jason was so encouraging. ‘These girls are hardcore’ will stick with me.”
Tears and beers
“I had a great day and the sportive support was fantastic. It was especially lovely to see so many people I have met through cycling encouraging us along the way. We shed a few tears at the end – and enjoyed a well-deserved beer. I still can’t quite believe I did it.”
So what does this determined women of steel have on her sportive agenda for 2017? “My plan is to do it all again next year, but faster. I’m also training for a half ironman!
“If I could give advice I’d say practice the hills, then have a great day out and enjoy it!”