I remember my first trip up Kirkstone in a car, I was almost car sick. I have been up Kirkstone many times in the car in my 11 years in England and everytime I saw a cyclist on the road I thought they were nuts. Who in their right mind would want to put themselves through such torture?
Last year I bought my first road bike and still thought the cyclists were a bit nuts. But something changes when you begin to love the bike. Something inside you begins to build and you become, well a bit nuts.
I havnt set myself any goals for years. I have a bit of a defeatist personality and always cut myself down or convince myself that Im not good enough to complete any targets or dreams. I always set myself for failure so it dosent hurt so much when it happens.
So setting myself a target like riding up Kirkstone before the end of this year was like setting myself up for a punch in the face. But I made the commitment anyways.
My first ride was to the Queens Head at Troutbeck, it was my longest climb yet. The second ride to prepare was to the top of the hill past the Queens Head, with a 16% gradient I was in for a bit of a push. I made it on my first go! I was halfway there.
I have had a few issues this year with injury and alot of trouble with my demoralizing and mentally exhausting job. Plenty of excuses to keep me off the bike. I havent yet let any of them win, I always want to ride. The spring I was first diagnosed with acute tendinitis in my left arm, then I was placed in plaster, then it was discovered that I suffered from a rare condition in my hands thats a bit to complicated to explain. The just of it is that I now take many painkillers to keep me ahead of the pain. Twice I have fallen off the bike, once in a sling with a bad elbow scar and second with a concussion and a huge lump on my arm.
But the love for riding always wins, and with the help of my riding partner Hutty and the belief from my husband I continued to reach for my goal, the one that I aspired to complete.
So for some of you I know its not a big deal, its not a long ride, 16 miles from Kendal to the Kirkstone Inn, climbing alot of the way, but not excessively steep. But it was my nemeses, My fear of failure,it was my challenge. I wanted to get to the Inn without having to walk my bike.
So on Saturday, September 4th I made it to the Inn, without walking my bike. with Hutty to guide me to the top I reached my goal, and I am so proud.
Cycling has become a part of me, and something that some of my friends have a hard time accepting. But it has taught me more about myself then those old friends could ever do. Because of the bike I have learned to set myself challenges. It has also taught me that Im not as useless as I thought. It has brought me back to life.
So whilst there are some who will think my ride up Kirkstone isnt such a big deal, to me, it was the start of something brilliant.