I am thrilled to welcome Judith Worrall to the HH50 community and to share her fabulous cycling story with you today. Judith and I met through a mutual friend, Rachael Bateman from Cappuccino Cycling Club, and I have been hugely inspired by her enthusiasm for cycling and the Yorkshire Lass Cycling Club.
Which sport do you love?
My passion is cycling. I also do Zumba twice a week and yoga once a week.
Have you always been sporty or is this new to you?
I used to ride and drive horses when I was younger, competing on an amateur scale at the weekend.
If you were sporty when you were younger & then stopped, why did you stop?
I stopped when I met my first husband. I was young and in love, wanting to spend time with him.
Who or what motivated you to start again?
I started riding again when the children were little as I found myself increasingly left on my own with them. I used to ride and then take them with me on the lunge line.
I took up cycling in 2011 when I was 46.
How often do you cycle each week and do you do it as part of a team, with friends or on your own?
I cycle as often as I can. Sometimes it is only a couple of times a week as I work at an outdoor centre and we are busiest in the summer. I am a Facilities Manager, not one of the instructors. I deal with the catering and housekeeping side of things. I have done a lot of training on my own or with my husband.
In March 2015, a friend of mine, Kate Horsfall and I set up a ladies only cycling club Yorkshire Lasses in Wetherby, Yorkshire for ladies of all abilities. We have 100 members now! We are amazed at how it has taken off! We are often out on rides throughout the week. I also do quite a few sportives with my husband or the club.
On August 14th we are having our very own Yorkshire Lass Sportive in aid of Women v Cancer (supporting Breast, Cervical and Ovarian cancer).
How do you feel when you are cycling?
I can’t believe what a difference it makes. I can have had a tiring or long day at work, I get out on my bike and really blow the cobwebs away. I forget about things that are going on, it’s my escapism.
How has sport enhanced your life?
I am fitter now than I ever have been, I sleep so much better and my skin is better. I feel stronger mentally and physically. Socially I have a lot more friends. My confidence and mental attitude have improved considerably. It has kept my weight down too.
What are your biggest motivations?
I started cycling because I had started to lose weight in 2011 and my husband suggested I take up cycling to help keep the weight off. Whilst at one of the Slimming World classes I picked up a magazine, started reading and saw an advert for Women V Cancer Cycle India 350K. I had decided I wasn’t getting any younger and I fancied a challenge. After much thinking and worrying about it, I made up my mind, clicked the enter button and immediately started worrying what I had done! I now not only had to train on my bike, (the longest ride I had done was 30 miles which nearly killed me), I had to raise £3000!
What were or are your biggest obstacles to taking part regularly (time, family, work, health, lack of motivation in bad weather) and how do you overcome them?
All of the above! I work full time so sometimes I have to just come in from work, get my cycling gear straight on and go out. My family are grown up now although we have started on the next generation with grandchildren. I think the family sometimes don’t appreciate how hard it is to train. The hardest thing was getting used to spending so long in the saddle.
In 2015, I was training for another challenge in Africa and it rained a lot in Yorkshire. I have therefore ridden in all sorts of weather. Sometimes you just have to grin and bear it. Think of the rewarding cuppa and shower when you get in.
Who inspires you?
Through my challenges with Women V Cancer I have met a lot of inspirational ladies who have lost family members to cancer, are going through treatment themselves or are just starting treatment. Anyone can ride a bike but to ride one when they are going through their own personal battle amazes me. They are my heroines – very normal women who have been dealt a very rough deal. Their families also inspire me as they see their loved ones going through it and have to cope. The ladies who are battling with their weight but also take on these challenges inspire me. They have such bravery, strong wills to carry on with their training so they can make a difference.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
I completed my 3rd cycle challenge in 2015 in Africa. I did India 2012 350k, Cuba 2014 400k and Africa 2015 was 400k but it was the hardest. It was a lot of off road and a lot in the hills. This year I also completed my 103 miles in one day – not bad for a former ‘fat lass’ that nearly died doing 5 miles!
Raising nearly £10,000.00 for Women v Cancer.
I also celebrated my 50th birthday in 2015. My other biggest achievement was setting up Yorkshire Lass Cycling Club with Kate in March. With 100 members to date, I am very proud of what I have achieved.
I have also set up a Facebook group called Ladies Cycling Forum which has over 500 members.
What are your next goals for the future?
I have 4 goals for 2016:
What are the 3 best things you love about your sport?
And the worst?!
Do you track your sport & has this enhanced your goals/enjoyment? I use Strava and am a bit of an addict now. I love seeing the miles clock up and if I am improving on sections. The first thing I do when I get back is stand my bike up, stop my Strava, name the ride and press save.
Last year I recorded 3568 miles ridden and over 110,000 ft of climbing.
What’s your favourite food before/during or after training?
I love flapjack. I eat nuts when out on my bike. A cup of tea as soon as I get back and anything I can lay my hands on.
Do you have a favourite magazine/website/blog related to your sport?
I don’t have a favourite magazine at the moment, I just read my husband’s magazines if they are about.
YLCC has featured in a Ride Like a Girl magazine, which is a good online magazine. www.ridelikeagirlmagazine.co.uk
And on Facebook it has to be the Facebook group for YLCC – you can find all sorts of info on there. The Facebook group is just for members with membership being just £10 for the year. The posts on there make interesting reading!
If someone was thinking about taking up a new sport/exercise but doubted herself or felt unsure about being judged or made to feel welcome, what would you say to them?
It is worth trying because if you don’t then you will never know whether you will enjoy it or not. Try a club out and see how you go on. It does take courage to go, so try and enlist a friend to go with you or contact the club and have a chat with someone about it. There are lots of female only clubs starting now. In our club we try to be as encouraging and friendly as possible.
If someone was interested in taking up your sport/activity, what practical tips/places/organisations would you suggest they do next?
The Internet is a fantastic tool – you can find lots of interesting info on there. Having said that, I found out about my Zumba class in the butchers!! Try the notice boards in supermarkets and local shops.
Do you have a sporting or life motto?
Finally, this blog & community is called HealthyHappy50. With the lessons you have learned over the years, what would you tell your 20 year old self or 20 year old friends about health & happiness?
Can you tell us a little more about your family & career?
I’m 50 years young, have cycled in 3 national events abroad and 2 regional events for Women v Cancer. I was featured on BBC1’s Countryfile for taking part in the Cappuccino Club Cycling calendar. I’ve completed numerous sportives and am co-founder of Yorkshire Lass Cycling Club.
You can find us here:
Twitter: @YorkLass_CC Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you so much Judith for sharing your story and love for cycling with us! It is truly inspiring! Good luck with your personal cycling challenges in 2016 and for the continued growth of Yorkshire Lass Cycling Club and your first sportive in August. We look forward to following your adventures,
Thank you also to Rachael Bateman for introducing me to Judith!