As I’m sure most of you are aware I love the outdoors. I crave fresh air daily, and although I have the best job in the world, I wish I could do it outside. Before I started nursing I went to uni to do a degree in Outdoor Adventure. I wanted to climb mountains and take people with me, so that they could enjoy my love of fresh air too. Mountains are my playground. I can openly admit I have never been the most fit. I have minimal actual climbing experience apart from gaining a single pitch award and my Mountain Leaders, but I haven’t been attached to a harness in years. But I can walk. I don’t walk fast, but I plod on and on and on. The plodding drives Mr H mad….. I’m 5ft4 (just!), he’s 6ft3 and with thighs of steel….. I just can’t keep up any decent pace! But I go up mountains, and love it, and when I finally get to top, I’m chuffed!
I have followed so many Instagram accounts of inspirational women outdoor adventurists, and ‘Challenge Sophie’ caught my eye (http://www.challengesophie.com/ Just a normal girl, but with the same love and seeming understanding for fresh air and mountains. They only difference is she road cycles…. and looks epic doing it!!! Living so close to the Peak District and Mr H and I having walked up anything we could find, I fancied the cycling ‘thing’. I hadn’t a clue if I would even be any good at it. Jumping on my bandwagon, Mr H also thought he would try his hand at cycling too.
Well, cycling….. I’m not a natural. Just as with mountaineering I plod. Plod on, and on, and on…… Mr H and his thighs of steel loved it, and climbed, and started to adventuring further to climb bigger hills. I just couldn’t t keep up. Our friends in Derby all cycle to, and soon boys cycling became more and more competitive and Strava became the new Facebook and Instagram. Who went fastest, who had the best segment, who’d done the most miles in a week….. who cares?! Me. I was so happy for Mr H. He had found a sport that he loved again after not swimming competitively for years and football fizzling out, and (I’m sure he agrees – he is never going to compete in the Tour de France) but that does not matter when they come back and look chuffed! (And then turn instantly back to Strava and Garmin to check times and segments again)!
I had become a cycling wife….During this time, we have been lucky enough to fall pregnant. And those that know, a combination of hormones, morning sickness and picky eating made me feel like a pants wife. Whilst on a day out climbing hills with a friend, we stopped in Bakewell and whilst browsing Cotswold Camping for a new pretty piece of kit (I LOVE kit!) there were all the sports books. Ideal!! I’ll get Mr H a hill climbing book for being a rubbish wife – 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs. Well – like a kid at Christmas he loved it! Planning weekends away and saying “I will take the bike just incase we get a free afternoon”, knowing full well that he had found a climb close to our destination in the book! The book got serious – the second issue arrived in the post, so with 200 glorious big fat uphill pieces of tarmac to spin the bike on….. heaven had arrived!
So on a glorious walk today the uphill climbs reached a new wife brownie point winner, I would become a photographer. After a plod (slowly, but surely now turning into a waddle at 21 weeks preggo) Mr H hatched a plan to incorporate 2 climbs afterwards. I’d have coffee in the pub with the dog, he’d ride his bike! Perfect! However, the second climb was on the way home, so as a serial Instagram poster – I thought I could grab some nice shots of the boy in action….. DING DING DING, brownie points in the bag!
I’m not going to lie, I loved it, it was great fun. Passion and excelling in sport is something I wish I had more of. I’m passionate, but have, and always will be average…. I’m built like a square, strong legs and arms, but naff all coordination or endurance for anything! And from now weekends away always involve the bike (and the books). The bike goes everywhere. But girls – if this happens to you, let them – they come back happy, sweaty, and often as they are feeling a little guilty for leaving you – so return with gifts!!!
Mrs Heatho x