An open letter to my body

I’ve put my body through the wringer a bit recently and while it sometimes doesn’t go as fast as I’d like and doesn’t look as athletic as some, it’s served me well so far so I’m raising a proverbial glass (of water, obviously) to the one thing that keeps me going: my body.

Dear you,

Haven’t we been up to no good together recently?! I’ve had such fun the last six months with our training for The Transcontinental Race that I’ve so often forgotten to thank you for being you.

When we were growing up, I always knew I would never be that super skinny girl, nor would I be the athlete who showed the boys what real sport was. Instead, you’re fairly ordinary in an extraordinary way and I’m so glad about that.

You’ve got flaws: those spots on your chin aren’t this season’s hottest look, your sticky-out ear is noticeable once pointed out, that cellulite would make Kim Kardashian cry. But they’re the flaws I’ve come to love. You’re the body I’ve come to love.

As my love for cycling grew, so did your thighs. So did your tan lines. So did your appetite for sweet treats. I see other girls my age looking up the latest diet fad, wondering how to get their bikini body ready in time for summer. They buy all sorts of potions for their hair and skin with the world’s best marketeer telling them that it’ll transform their lives. They are fixated on calories or protein or whatever else we’re supposed to be eating more or less of this year. Not us. We’re having a can of full-fat coke because we just sweated up that god-awful hill just a few kilometres before, we’re enjoying a cheese feast because we earned it yesterday and those Percy Pigs are getting smashed on the next ride we do together. I haven’t even mentioned the wine and gin intake yet…

You do everything I tell you to do with little complaint. Sure, the weekend after my trip to Copenhagen in the Peak District was real tough and you let me know loud and clear that Curbar Edge was the straw that broke the camel’s back. But you managed it and you managed it well given the circumstances. All those rides with freezing cold fingers through winter have been worth it because now look at us showing off our skills in summer. And you needed a couple of extra kilos then anyway to keep warm.

Cycling kit is often quite forgiving, let’s be honest. Ignore the older men you see, my shorts hide a multitude of desserts, chocolate bars and milkshakes as we haul ourselves around the latest destination on our radar. Kim will never know what levels of cellulite lie beneath those Lycra¬†bib shorts of ours. It’ll be our little secret!

As for your beautiful tan lines: wear them with pride. We worked hard for those, we sweated through summers of sunshine in near and far away places for the reward of a razor sharp line. I don’t care if we look ridiculous in a pair of shorts or a bikini or that skirt that’s just a little too short. I was maid of honour at my sister’s wedding this year and you looked amazing. You even wowed the crowd with your arm tan lines!¬†Those who know, know.

And for all the times I’ve deprived you of a good night’s sleep, you’ve soldiered on. What a trooper you are. I was brought up on eight hour rituals but when we’re out in the wilderness together, you’re lucky to get four. You’re so great!

What I’m getting at is, thank you. Thanks for all the times I said I would rest you but my heart overcame my head so we went out for a cheeky 100km together. Thanks for all the times you recovered on your own because I don’t stretch or do yoga nearly enough. Thanks for all the times you keep going no matter what fuel I’m putting in you. But most of all, thanks for all the good and bad times. Every single one of them.

Yours lovingly,


P.s. where shall we go next?

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