“You can be the most physically fit person in the world. And if the mental isn’t there, you’re screwed because you will hit the darkness so many times on these long ones. And for me, I think that’s part of the challenge; knowing it’s going to hurt. Knowing at some point you are really not going to want to ride your bike.”
Settle in and buckle up; this is a fun, deep, long and laughter filled episode of Sparta Chicks Radio
Tiffany Winchester is an ultra-endurance cyclist, with a love of doughnuts, who is currently preparing to ride the Paris-Brest-Paris; an iconic 1,200km endurance cycling event in France later this year.
I think it’s easy to look at women like Tiff (or Samantha Gash) and assume there is something extraordinary about them.
Busting that myth was one of the reasons I started the podcast — because they (like all of my guests) are just ordinary women who have found a sport they love and a strong ‘why’.
Tiff finished her first bike race as a child and then took a “25 year rest week” from almost all forms of exercise.
It wasn’t until her 30s that she started walking and “procrasta-hiking” (as she calls it) as a way to clear her head and clarify her thoughts while working on her PhD.
After a brief (yet deep) love affair with trail running, Tiff was introduced to the world of cycling 3 years ago - and hated it at first!
Her relationship with cycling has been bumpy; so much so, she decided to stop racing for mental health reasons.
However, she has since found her ‘happy place’ in the incredibly gruelling world of ultra-endurance cycling.
In this conversation, Tiff and I discuss:
* her “25 year rest week” she took after her first bike race (and how she didn’t touch a bike again until her late 30s),
* how she got back into exercise in her late 30s (initially it was ‘procrasta-hiking while doing her PhD),
* how she resisted the idea of cycling at first because her identity was so connected to being a runner,
* the “intervention dinner”’ that resulted in a plan to get her back into cycling (and why she hated cycling for a few months),
* the importance of taking your training (but not yourself) seriously,
* why she had to stop racing for her mental health and instead discovered ultra-endurance cycling,
* the importance of setting up your bike correctly for ultra-endurance cycling; your lady bits will thank you 😉
*- how her love of doughnuts was born,
* the confidence that comes from pushing through the “darkness” on a long ride and finishing what you set out to do,
* her experience with the Imposter Complex
* why she didn’t consider herself a cyclist until after her first 1,200km ride,
* the impact of social media on her perception of herself as a cyclist and how it fed her Imposter, and
* how she finds time to train for an event like the 1,200km Paris-Brest-Paris while balancing full-time work and a family.
Notes and resources: