When I wrote the first blog I hoped that I would manage weekly updates; I wasn’t convinced I’d manage, but I hoped all the same.  

So now, nearly a month later, I have finally found the time to sit and write. I guess there has been one positive side to this morning’s blizzard!

Things have been more than a little manic here at SWWR HQ, organising the training camp in Hexham and laying foundations for the racing season while balancing training and work commitments. I’d forgotten how frenzied this time of year gets at work.

For me, one of the biggest draws to SWWR was the thought of getting together and riding with other women. I’ve never minded turning up for a club run and being one of the only women out. I still don’t. However, years ago, when I first got into cycling, I was invited to go for a ride with the remnants of Team Caledonia. This experience remains one of my favourite cycling memories.

Excited, honoured about being invited and very nervous about my own fitness, I loaded up my kit and bike and headed to Aberfoyle to meet the ladies. When I arrived, I realised that I had forgotten my jacket! Typical. Luckily one of the girls had some spare team kit so I didn’t freeze. Riding out in a group of women all wearing the same kit felt brilliant. I can’t quite explain why I enjoyed it so much. When I heard about the team Sandy was putting together, I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of it.

With the Sandy Wallace Women spread far and wide, across the whole of Britain, we don’t get many opportunities to ride together and this is why the training camps are so important to me. It was brilliant to get 8 members of SWWR together at Hexham.

Despite a wee spill on Saturday (the joys of spring riding: slippy country roads at muck-spreading time of year), the girls (including me) had a fantastic time. It was great to meet Tina for the first time. We all really appreciated the effort she made to get there: nearly 7 hours of driving! Looking forward to seeing her again next week!

Special mentions too for Jon: his coaching and late night bike tinkering were thoroughly appreciated. And a big-up for William too. What an epic feast: lasagne and pear cake (even a wheat-free version!). Calls have been made for a ‘William’s Recipes’ section on the SWWR website so watch this space.

My attention has now moved on to the immanent racing season. At this exact moment, my legs and lungs should be burning as I enter the final lap of the Musselburgh TTT. Alas, ‘twas not to be and I am stuck once again in a snow-globe.   

Next week should mark the start of my racing season with the Lake APR. A very good turnout from SWWR, with 7 of our girls entered. This will be Ishbel’s racing debut so there may well be some bubbly at the end to mark this auspicious occasion! 

Good times ahead for SWWR! 

Winter training is like walking a tightrope: getting the balance right takes practice and experience. Getting the balance wrong leads to disaster. 

And so it comes to be that I am lying here prostrate on the sofa. 

After my joy at making it through the whole of January without a sick day (for the first time in two years), I woke up last Monday with the tell-tale sore throat. With the return leg of the Irish Exchange taking part over the following weekend, I was determined to recover in time for the events given that so much time and energy had been invested, trying to make these events great for both SWWR and Ulster Women's Cycling. Copious amounts of vitamin C, echinacea, paracetamol, fruit and fruit juice (NOT FROM CONCENTRATE) seemed to be doing the job and by Saturday I felt much better. 90% recovered.

Turns out that 90% better isn't good enough to take on a weekend of heavy training. Yeah, yeah, I do know better that to train hard while not fully fit. Now I UNDERSTAND the implications of not being sensible. 

More antibiotics. More rest. No bike. Joy. 

At least this has given me the opportunity to create the SWWR website and write my very first blog. 

Like all tightrope walkers, sometimes we have to test our limits to see how far we can push ourselves, and this inevitably leads to a fall. I just won't push it so far next time!