The start of 2017 for many was good riddance to a rotten year but for me 2016 was one of the best years in a long while; there was been a landmark birthday and adventures to be had. Kick starting 2016 was a New Years Eve 10k, a blustery fenland run in Ely alongside 300 other runners followed by a biting cold half marathon in February and a hilly North London half marathon in March in which I gained a PB.
This surprised me as there are virtually no hills where I live in the flatlands of East Anglia. I loved running this half marathon but especially my finishers photo…me crossing the line with Thor and Darth Vader and in October as I crossed the finish line in the Perkins Eastern Half Marathon the same thing happened…there they were!!!. All of these events were just a warm up in the preparation for taking part in the Virgin London Marathon 2016 and there was a lot of excitement about who would be the one millionth runner to cross the line since it started in 1981? I took a tumble with another runner at mile 13 on Tower Bridge, hobbled sobbed and dragged my way round to the finish line but needless to say I am running the VLM again this year.
Apart from all of the running events, semi-serious and fun (a Wineathlon with 13 other Where’s Wally’s, a Zombie run and an Only Fools Ride Horses OCR), coaching and playing football for my local team I also did my 1st ever tandem skydive at 35000 feet just 2 miles from my house. I loved it and wanted to do it again solo.
Of all these things the most exciting of them all was the knowledge that the small Fenland town in which I live had announced it had started The Chatteris Cycling Club. I was in my element, cycling in one form or another has been embedded in my DNA since I was born thanks to my dad a keen time trial cyclist and European mountain road bike adventurer. My first bike had been a chopper with stabilisers followed by a racer (the ones with the gears on the frame) while all the other kids in the street had a BMX or mountain bike. Looking back I realise that this was actually really cool. This love has spilled over onto two members in my family who share as much passion for riding as I do.
I love riding with the Chatteris Cycling Club. I took part in my 1st hilly 100km sportive in December. New Year’s Day started with a bitterly cold, wet cake and coffee club ride and I will continue training for numerous races coming up including The Gran Fondo Tour of Cambridgeshire in June. Whether it is just heading off on my bike for a ride out over 10 miles or 100 miles there is nothing like the sound of the tyres rolling along the tarmac - remember that feeling you had when you first learnt to ride your bike and from that moment every ride was an adventure? It never left me.
Rachael is wearing the Rideon jersey Primal