I’ve been guesting again over at Fit is a Feminist Issue, the blog belonging to my friends and colleagues Sam Brennan and Tracy Isaacs, both feminist philosophers at Western. As usual, I’m writing about my life as an amateur road cyclist. But this post, while specifically directed at other road cyclists, features a transferable lesson about working through fear and anxiety to meet a really, really tough challenge that I suspect many readers of this blog will find valuable. It’s perfect for those of us (yup, that includes me) currently working madly on essays, overdue articles, and all the other stressful stuff that fills our so-called university “holidays”. And, of course, since we’re coming up on the holidays proper in about five minutes, this post – which features a story in the middle and some great photos courtesy of my coach, Jo McRae – might also make nice, diversionary reading for those of you still marking (that includes me too. SIGH).
Regular readers of this blog know that Sam is not a hill climber, and that Tracy, while she has been assured she *will* be a hill climber, is not one yet. Hills are in short supply in the part of the world where Sam, Tracy and I ride our bikes together: the flat terrain and gently rolling slopes of farmland surrounding London, Ontario (100 miles west of Toronto).
I didn’t learn to ride a road bike in little London, however; I took to riding after my husband and I moved to (the rather larger) London in south-east England in 2012. That means I cut my climbing teeth in the short, sharp Surrey Hills, on the ridges in Kent, and in the South Downs, which features the gut-busting Ditchling Beacon, among other gems. While training for our epic London-to-Paris 24-hour challenge ride (read about it here), Jarret and I also did…
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