Most people are surprised by the reason I decided to do, apply to the Tour 21 team. Firstly it wasn’t me who decided, it was Andy. Whilst out for a meal chatting about the 2021 ride he got out his phone and put the application in. It sounds a bit like he was forcing me in to it, but he wouldn’t do it if he didn’t think I was already considering it anyway.
So whilst I could talk about another set of training rides this week (and no Geoff didn’t get another puncture – it was my turn this week) I thought I’d talk about the reasons for taking on this challenge.
As a guest of the Institute of Directors this week, who I have to thank for raising £835 towards my fundraising, I sat next to the a lady who had been asked to speak after having her world turned upside down by a accident that left her paralysed. Now, despite the difficulties that brings, she has a new life which she would not trade for her old life. A family, a purpose, and list of things she has done and still has to do. Things that would not have crossed her mind were it not for a split second event. Claire Lomas, a top Level Event rider who was set for an amazing horse riding career before an accident that changed everything, not only gave an inspirational speech, giving me some tips on how to approach my Tour de France ride, she also confirmed the reasons I get on my bike each day to train.
The most important thing that Claire spoke about was how by doing amazing things we can help others. Having been told she would never walk again she found innovative ideas to take on sporting challenges to help others by raising over £850,000 for charity, which is exactly why I am riding the Tour De France route with the Tour21 team – by raising £1,000,000 for Cure Leukaemia I can only imagine the number of people who will get a second opportunity to live the life they deserve, to build a family and take the opportunities and experiences life gives us if we only look for them.
We only get to do these things because we take a choice, a choice to say ‘yes’ when the opportunity arises. Andy and I always approach opportunities saying that we may never get a second chance, It’s not a question of ‘if’ or ‘can’ we do it, more ‘OK when’. It is this message I want to give to other women cyclist out there, don’t think about if you can do it, think about how it will feel when you have done it. Who would think that a paralysed woman could complete the London Marathon, but Claire showed, even though it took 17 days, she could do it! not only that, she skis, Flies a microlight, and even rides a motor bike (Good luck with you aspirations to ride the Isle of Man TT Claire).
So the question is “Can a 60 year old retired nurse ride the Tour de France Route?”
We will only find out if she tries.
Claire also gave some advice I will take to the Tour with me – don’t look too far ahead, we have a goal and will face obstacles on the way, understand them but take each step one by one. When I arrive in Copenhagen just 40 days from now, the goal will be to reach Paris, and on the way I will ride through the Alps and Pyrenees, but the most important thing will be to ride those first stages in Copenhagen. There is no point in thinking how I’ll ride the Alps and Pyrenees if I cannot complete the stages in Denmark. By joining the Tour 21 team I hope I can make a difference, a difference beyond the £1,000,000 we raise for Cure Leukaemia. Tom Geldart is the CEO of the institute of directors and a special guest on Thursday day night. A straight talking Yorkshire man he is making sure the IOD attracts a younger and more diverse membership for the future, it was clear that when he took on the role a few years ago he would not have done so if he did not believe in it’s value to business, and that he could make a difference. I would like to think I can make a big difference to the Tour 21 team, inspiring other women to take part. Age is no barrier, nor is experience, the only barriers are own own thoughts of what may be all we have to do to succeed is believe we can make a difference.
I cannot take credit for the title of this weeks blog, ‘Imagine, Believe, Achieve’ came from Claire’s presentation. Those 3 small words allow us all to make a difference, when Andy clicked the ‘Submit’ button on my entry it was difficult to envisage what was to come.
A few months later I began to IMAGINE what it would be like to be part of such a fantastic team, the messages support and encouragement made me BELIEVE that our team will all ride in to Paris in July, and together, with your support, we will ACHIEVE our target of raising our £1,000,000 for Cure Leukaemia.