I’ve been athletic to varying degrees my whole life. My childhood was a never ending battle against my brother for bragging rights…we’re still fighting it out! Throughout high school I joined every sporting team available in an effort to get out of as many classes as possible – soccer, softball, rugby, track, shot put, swimming, netball…field hockey. Seriously who plays field hockey?! But once University started and everyone had grown to full size, my 5’3″, small build wasn’t intimidating anyone on the rugby field anymore, slowly moving away from team sports; I dabbled in jogging and swimming to stay active.
After moving to Toronto 7 years ago, and getting frustrated with the difficulty in using the TTC to get to obscure locations to play hockey, soccer, and softball, I realized I could get anywhere, and faster, on a bike. I borrowed a friend’s CCM SuperCycle Mountain Bike and I was hooked, riding from East to West through the crazy streets on a daily basis. After upgrading to a GIANT single speed I was feeling pretty confident in my cycling ability, and talking a big game against a friend who cycled “on the weekend”, he challenged me to join him on the Ride to Conquer Cancer last year.
My motto is: If you’re going to do something, do it right. A brand new TREK road bike and full cycling kit later, I looked the part but I still had a lot of miles to put in before I would be ready. Increasing from 15km a day to 100km a day in little over a month, I was hooked on cycling. And, I quickly realized my friend’s weekend cycling was more bad-ass than I thought. Half way through the Ride to Conquer Cancer Day 1, as I reached the top of the Hill Climb Challenger, I knew this was the activity for me. As life gets busier, and it’s harder and harder to find time to commit to team sports, and find time for yourself, cycling has proved to be the perfect activity to fit into my schedule and give me the challenge and satisfaction I crave. And a lot of alone time to clear the mind as I put in my base miles!
So this year, wanting to cycle more and do it right, I started looking for more ways to improve and become involved in events, but not really knowing how to go about it. Still struggling with the mindset of the tiny 5’3” girl, not sure if I could keep up with the big kids, I was enthusiastically hesitant. At a Liv/GIANT event, up popped a tiny lady, not much bigger than me, with a big personality, a little bit bigger than mine, who was keeping up with the big boys and crushing it. A month or so later Paolina became Coach Paolina and now I worry less about how big I am and more about how I am going to survive the next training session she has planned for me! With Paolina’s enthusiasm and support my plans for the year have expanded to road racing and doing my first Sprint Triathlon at the Toronto Triathlon Festival. I now know that I can do anything I put my mind to, and the list keeps growing. If racing a triathlon is anywhere near as fun as the training, I plan on doing many more.