Every now and again I get a glimpse into my future, a future when my three-year-old and 20-month-old children are a little older, time is a little less scarce, and my bottom is a little less tender after a 40-miler on a rather unforgiving road bike with a saddle the approximate width of a postage stamp.
I had one such glimpse this weekend. Every month I ride with an amazing group of women who are all on a bespoke training programme with me for the upcoming RideLondon 100 in August this year.
As we flew down stunning Surrey lanes on a bright and breezy day, with broad smiles on our face, we chatted about life, cycling, holiday plans and the world in general.
What I heard warmed my heart.
Many of the women I ride with have children in their teens and they spoke of family holidays in rural France with daily bike rides, their daughters being their training buddies for sportives and marathons, and their sons being their companions on cycling and skiing holidays.
It was a timely reminder that the needs of my two daughters will one day, probably sooner than I would like, be less pressing, all-encompassing and at times overwhelming. One day I won’t have to plan in time on the bike like a military operation, setting out my kit the night before so I’m all ready to get dressed and go at 6am before my husband goes to work.
This year I’m doing RideLondon 100 with my husband to raise money for Tommy’s, the baby charity. It’s only partly an altruistic endeavour. Without the looming spectre of a 100-mile sportive and some absolutely brilliant coaching and a training plan from Kerry Bircher and Holly Seear at Revolution Cycling, I think I would find it hard to set aside time to ride. Everything else always comes first – the children, our family, the housework….
But I’m glad I am still making time for the bike, because we mums who ride do such wonderful things for our children without even realising it. We all want the best for our children and encouraging them to take care of themselves, physically and emotionally, is a huge part of that.
Just by making time to ride we are role models for a healthy and active lifestyle and we also teach our children that life is for play as well as work.
We show them that we can hold down jobs or keep homes, often both, and also go out and ride like the wind at weekends.
We demonstrate that women are strong, powerful and fit as well as caring, nurturing and giving.
And in fulfilling our own needs for space to be people in our own right outside of our families and giving ourselves the time - however brief - to devote to our passions, we show our children a healthy model for self-care and self-respect.
Cathy will be contributing monthly articles exclusively here on the VeloVixen blog - for more from her, follow her on Twitter. If you would like to contribute to her fund raising for Ride London, click here.
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