This picture was taken last weekend on a typical Saturday afternoon ride up to Seeb, a recovery ride from Friday’s 100km club ride with the group.
If anyone had told me this time last year that in 2018 I would be cycling over 200km per week, and entering bike races, I would have laughed out loud!
I always thought of myself as a runner. Never a cyclist. I used to run quite a bit, though not very well. I did a few 10ks and half marathons but always found running to be a bit of a chore. And too much like hard work!
Then about a year ago, when I was training for the Edinburgh Marathon, I pulled my Achilles tendon. That was it. I couldn’t run for about 6 weeks and had to pull out of the race.
I wanted to keep fit, and already had a hybrid bike so I started cycling. I never went out on my own - I have a friend who is a really good cyclist who would ride with me every weekend, and who encouraged me to keep at it - and also suggested I upgrade to a proper road bike.
I knew I need to learn how to ride properly, so last summer I booked myself on a week-long road biking training camp in Gerona, Spain.
In the seven days I was there I cycled more kilometres than I had in an entire month in Muscat and sort of got the hang of having my feet attached to the pedals (though I did fall off a few times – usually at traffic lights and usually with everybody watching!)
Back in Muscat I visited Lucky at Oman Bicycle (the go-to place for almost all the cyclists here in Muscat) and bought myself my first road bike – – a Focus Cayo Al Sora. And that was it. I was hooked!
I will say I have trained pretty hard the last few months. Fitness is a gradual process and this graph shows my progress over the last six months, which I’m pretty pleased with. I use a computer on the bike which displays speed, distance covered, and also my heart rate, so I know exactly how hard I’m working during a ride!
My first race was on 9th February a time trial, or TT, where you are basically racing against the clock over a set distance.
I was one of only three women who turned up, and I thought it was funny that I would get a medal before I even started simply because there were so few women competitors.
What I didn’t realise though, till after I finished, was that I had beaten the all-time women’s TT race record by a minute!
On 24th February I took part in another race, but was disappointed to be the ONLY woman who turned up!! With no other competitors in my group, my Gold medal didn’t feel quite so deserved! I’m hoping this blog will encourage more ladies to take up cycling as a sport – I need people to race against!!
And so….the next step for me is to upgrade my bike to a Carbon frame. I’m reliably told that the bike I’m on is like riding a shopping trolley compared to a Carbon framed bike and that I will be so much FASTER on a lighter bike. Great, except bikes, are expensive, and Carbon frame bikes are SUPER expensive. But I have to have one. So I’m going to buy one when I go home to Edinburgh on holiday and bring it back with me. I’ll tell you all about it on my next blog!!