Cycling is the best! (no, this is not a joke…)

I have been cycling for three years now. Yes, that’s right – cycling.

Sounds weird, right? A girl who talks fashion and rides a bike. It immediately conjures up in your mind the image of tight-fitting, synthetic shorts that take hours to pull on… not fashionable in the slightest! Rest assured, I was pretty hung up about wearing them too and it took me more than one try to finally get them on. But now that baptism of fire has been passed, I can’t do without them!

I started cycling after an unsuccessful attempt at going to the gym (too narcissistic) and running (knees hurt too much). And as it was the autumn season, I opted for spinning classes. Spinning is where you sit on an exercise bike and pedal like crazy to the sound of pumping music.

My initiation was rather promising: the team was really nice, the class open to all levels and spinning isn’t too tough to start out with if you do one session per week. That is, until the day the coach proposed that I take part in the training camp he organises every year.

I’d been told that the trip would be like a week’s retreat to recharge my batteries. Just imagine, seven days in the south of Spain, a nice hotel with a spa and pool, a walk away from the beach, looking out onto stunning landscapes… oh, I also have to cycle 500km? Easy! Well, at least that’s what I told myself when I accepted without hesitation, already thinking about all the summer outfits I’d be able to take with me, drinks in the sunshine and fun with friends.

When I arrived, I quickly understood that the coach had an altogether different idea. Seven thirty am: wake up and get ready. Eight am: breakfast. Suffice to say I had to forget about my long morning showers and blow-drying my hair (what’s the point? we’d be wearing helmets…) Nine am: gather in the courtyard and off we go. Midday: lunch break after about 60km of cycling. No restaurants mind, just a sandwich wolfed down before heading off again. Five pm: arrive back at the hotel after a hellish 100km of cycling. Six thirty pm: drinks then dinner and forget that glass of wine… a real athlete doesn’t drink alcohol. Wow! What a nightmare! By the end of the first evening, I was already asking myself what on earth I was doing in this place. And there was a whole week to get through…

Astonishingly girls, despite the pain, kilometres, heat and tears, I have to admit something… after seven days in Spain, five days of cycling and one day of rest (when I compensated big time by going shopping!), I managed to survive the week’s training. More than survive, I felt like Rocky Balboa!

So I signed up for the camp the following year. In fact, I loved taking this time out for myself. And believe me, there’s nothing more fashionable than feeling good in your mind and body…


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