#040: Richelle Olsen on Comparison, Body Image & Riding Canada to Mexico [Podcast]

Sparta Chicks Radio

Nov 26
Richelle Olsen on Sparta Chicks Radio

Richelle Olsen is one of the most real, honest and authentic people I know.

An everyday woman with an adventurous spirit and love of the outdoors, Richelle has packed a lot into her 30-something years.

From travelling solo around South America for 5 weeks at 21, to competing in triathlon and mountain biking as well as hiking the Inca Trail and to Everest Base Camp, Richelle is happiest when on her bike - or bikes; she owns about 5.

Heck, she arrived at my house on a road trip recently with not one but two on the roof! 

Richelle Olsen in action

In 2015, Richelle and her then partner Shane rode 5,000km from Canada all the way to Mexico on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route over the course of 5 months. #Mindblowing

Richelle’s “adventure bio” is equal parts impressive and daunting.

But like most of us, the reality is that Richelle has struggled with fear, self-doubt and body image too.

When she stayed at our house a few weeks ago, she admitted that even after finishing her 5,000km ride across the USA that she didn’t feel like a “cyclist”.

A “chubby kid” whose parents decided she “had” to have a sport, Richelle has always viewed the world (and herself) through “these body image ‘I’m bigger’ glasses”.

It’s only been in recent years that Richelle has focused her attention and energy on what her body can do, as opposed to what it looks like, and so she is starting to appreciate and accept her body (as we discuss on this episode, she’s not quite there yet).

In 2016, Richelle also established Escaping Your Comfort Zone, a non-profit organisation dedicated to introducing more plus-sized women to the outdoors and adventure in a safe and supported environment.

What I love about Escaping Your Comfort Zone is that the focus is not on training, distances, speeds or even diets.

It’s simply a group of women hanging out and exploring the outdoors together.

Escaping Your Comfort Zone

So we dive into that, and more, in this conversation including:

* how her bikes were “freedom machines” as a kid,

* the important life lesson she learnt walking the Inca Trail,

* her habit of comparing herself to others and how that’s affected her ability to enjoy the moment (and the regret she has about her ride across the USA),

* the power of language,

* her relationship with her body (and body image) and

* how Escaping Your Comfort Zone is introducing more plus-sized women to the outdoors.

Richelle has become a treasured friend and sounding board for me in recent months. So I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I did.

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Notes and resources:

iTunes | Stitcher

To find out more about Richelle or to say hello, you can find her on Instagram, Facebook or via her website.

Escaping Your Comfort is on Facebook and Instagram. Or visit the website here.